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Charter School Facts
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Charter schools are tuition-free, public schools that have the flexibility to be more innovative and are held accountable for student achievement.


Click here to download our 2015 annual report which contains many facts about charter schools as well as stories of charter school success in Colorado. The report doubles as a 2016 calendar with photos of real students from Colorado charter schools.   


Below are more facts about Colorado's charter schools.

  • Charter schools are public schools.
  • Charter schools do not charge tuition.
  • Charter schools use non-discriminatory enrollment practices.
  • There are no test-in requirements to attend charter schools.
  • In 2015-16, there are 226 charter schools in Colorado serving over 108,000 students.
  • Charter school enrollment in Colorado is over 12% of total public school enrollment in the state.
  • Charter school students must take state assessments.
  • Charter schools are subject to the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
  • Charter schools serve a broad range of students, including: low-income students, racial and ethnic minorities, and students with disabilities or other special needs.
  • Colorado charter schools are geographically dispersed across the state and serve urban, suburban and rural communities.
  • Charter school programs and academic designs are as diverse as the students they enroll. Some charters implement longer school days, while others implement curricula specifically designed for at-risk students, gifted children, pregnant/parenting teens, juvenile offenders, and more.



In 2015-16, statewide data regarding students enrolled in charter schools demonstrates comparable diversity to traditional public schools:

  • 46.9% of Colorado charter school students are minorities.
  • 45.7% of Colorado traditional public school students are minorities.


 Student Group


Public Schools

Public Schools
33.3% 33.4%
 Black 5.6% 4.5%
 Asian 3.6% 3.0%
 American Indian or Alaskan Native  
0.5% 0.7%
 Native Hawaiian 0.2% 0.2%
 Two or More Races 3.6% 3.9%


Socio-Economic and At-Risk Factors
 Student Group


Public Schools

Public Schools
Eligible for Free or Reduced Lunch (FRL)  
35.7% 42.7%
Not Eligible for Free or Reduced Lunch 64.3% 57.3%



Charter School Funding

Charter schools are public schools, thus they are funded with state taxpayer dollars in the form of "per-pupil operating revenue" or PPR.  


School districts finance their facilities using property taxes, mill levies, and local bonds. Charter schools generally do not receive a proportionate share of these funds. As a result, money often comes out of the classroom to pay for facilities and facilities-related expenses.


On average, charter schools in Colorado spend $660 per student from designated per-pupil operating revenue on facilities costs.

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