Gov. Polis against new bill, citing concerns of shutting down charter schools and limiting school choice

Posted at 10:34 AM, Apr 01, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-01 12:34:49-04

DENVER — A 55-page bill is set to be introduced at the state capitol on April 11. House Bill 1363 requires charter schools to be more transparent with the state and the public.

"The Governor strongly opposes [this bill]," a spokesperson in Gov. Jared Polis' office said in a statement.

The spokesperson in the governor's office went on to say, the bill would weaken school choice.

If passed, the bill would require charter schools to report enrollment numbers, teacher retention rates and expenses without exception.

Right now, charter schools could waive or alter some of these requirements, according to the Colorado Department of Education (CDE).

The bill would require charter school contracts to be carefully reviewed for renewal. Failure to provide accurate reporting could lead to a school's charter being revoked.

It would affect 261 charter schools in our state. Enrollment grew by nearly 40,000 in the last ten years.

"[The bill], it's a waste of time," Colorado Charter School Institution board member Deborah Hendrix said.

Those who oppose the bill said that charter schools already comply with all state regulations.

"[Charters are] just not...'We don't want to do this, so we're gonna just change it,' [waivers] are approvals that have to go through CDE," Hendrix said.

Hendrix said lawmakers would make it easier for charter schools to get shut down. "If a district can say, 'well, we got declining enrollment, so therefore we're not going to renew your contract."'

If that happens, Hendrix said families would have fewer options to send their kids to school.

"There's no intention in this bill to shut down charters," the bill sponsor's, state Rep. Lorena Garcia, D-District 35, said.

Proposed bill would require for charter schools to be more transparent