Friday, April 5, 2024
CONTACT: Judy Solano, Advocates for Public Education Policy at [email protected]

DENVER: As the House Education Committee takes up legislation to hold charter schools in Colorado accountable to the same standards as neighborhood schools and restore local school board control over charter school approval, a coalition of education and progressive advocacy groups will rally in support of House Bill 1363, Charter Schools Accountability, at the Colorado State Capitol next Thursday.

“There are many charter schools that exist to serve or address a certain need or aspect in a community,” said Amie Baca-Oehlert, high school counselor and president of the Colorado Education Association. “We believe strongly that all schools that receive public funds should have the same standards of transparency and accountability that our traditional public schools adhere to. Parents and students deserve transparency and accountability, no matter where they attend school.”

“Retired educators believe all public schools should be held accountable to the same transparency and accountability,” said Lori Goldstein, President of CEA-Retired. “As lifelong taxpayers, we know the importance of making sure public education dollars are being spent wisely so the next generation of students have the resources they need to thrive.”

“The American Federation of Teachers has a deep history with the creation of charter schools–an opportunity for teachers to experiment new educational approaches and then bring those successes to other schools,” said Kallie Leyba of the American Federation of Teachers. “Thirty years later it’s time to update our laws.”

“It is simple common sense that any school which is funded by our tax dollars should be open to public scrutiny,” said Wendy Howell of Working Families Party. “But for too long, Colorado’s charter schools have gotten away with calling themselves ‘public’ while simultaneously insisting that they should be able to keep key information private. HB24-1363 fixes this by leveling the playing field and ensuring that all publicly-funded schools must be transparent with and accountable to the public.”

“No one is trying to shut down charter schools,” said Sara Loflin, executive director of ProgressNow Colorado. “This is about making sure that all Colorado public schools are held to the same standards, and giving local school districts the power to make better decisions for serving their students.”

“Colorado PTA believes that public education dollars carry the responsibility for providing public access, governance, and accountability,” said Dawn Fritz of the Colorado PTA. “We support House Bill 24-1363 because we believe all public schools, including charter schools, must be fiscally transparent, meet the highest level of accountability, and ensure meaningful family engagement.”

“Advocacy Denver believes that charter schools must meet their promise to enroll and serve students with a wide range of strengths and needs, including students with disabilities,” said Pam Bisceglia, executive director of Advocacy Denver. “HB24-1363 will hold charter schools to the same standards as traditional schools to employ licensed professionals and to provide students with disabilities with a range of services/free appropriate public education.”

“Relaxing transparency and accountability measures for charter schools in 2016 created an uneven playing field for traditional public schools. The League of Women Voters of Colorado views HB24 1363 as reinstating transparency and accountability in several areas. The bill should provide the necessary data to determine if equity is being achieved between traditional public schools and district and institute charter schools. Additionally, the League believes in assuring the availability of adequate school facilities and supports local school districts in bearing the primary responsibilities for determining the use of local district-owned facilities and equipment. HB24 1363 reinstates local school districts’ control of their facilities.” –League of Women Voters of Colorado

“After 30 years, revising the charter school laws is just good government and common sense. Our children, parents, and taxpayers deserve nothing less,” said former Rep. Judy Solano, Chair of A4PEP.

WHAT: Rally and press conference to support charter school accountability
WHEN: Thursday, April 11, at 12:30 p.m. – House Education Committee hearing follows at 1:30 p.m.
WHERE: East steps of the Colorado State Capitol, Denver
WHO: A coalition of education and progressive advocacy organizations including CEA, CEA-R, AFT, Colorado PTA, A4PEP, Advocacy Denver, ProgressNow Colorado, Working Families Party, the League of Women Voters, and more

To RSVP to this event on Facebook, click here.