Legislative Update: Developments through Week 5 of the Session

Dear Legislative Update followers,

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Welcome to the Week 5 edition of our Legislative Update Newsletter, providing you with the latest developments from the dynamic legislative landscape at the Colorado State Capitol.

I’m thrilled to share the success of last week’s Annual Charter School Advocacy Day, where over 150 passionate advocates and young people engaged with more than a quarter of the state legislature. The enthusiasm and dedication displayed during this event were truly inspiring and a testament to the strength of our community. It filled my heart to witness the commitment of our scholars, educators, and parents in working to actively shape a brighter future for our schools. Thank you to everyone who participated!  

Diligently Preserving Autonomy & Flexibility

The League is committed to advancing quality and choice in public education by supporting and advocating for Colorado's 260+ charter schools, which collectively serve over 135,000 students. One of our particular focus areas is pushing to preserve the core autonomies of our schools, a critical ingredient for nurturing high-quality educational innovation. Together with other partners in the K12 space, the League is actively opposing proposed Public Employees' Retirement Association (PERA) policies designed to mandate the inclusion of substitutes hired by third-party contractors into the PERA pool.

The membership of substitute teachers from a third-party employment agency into PERA introduces various challenges and disadvantages. A bill has been introduced at the legislature proposing a moratorium preventing PERA from enrolling employees of third-party private entities that contract with public entities (ex. public schools and districts) to provide services. This is a complex issue that impacts our charter schools, and it is crucial to take all necessary steps to avoid added difficulties in filling substitute teacher positions.

Access and Affordability for Facilities

Unlike most traditional public schools, the typical charter public school has to allocate approximately $1,200 per student from PPR to cover facility expenses. This results in significantly fewer resources available for classroom enhancements, student learning, teacher salaries, and more. Charter school leaders are facing escalating challenges in locating affordable facilities suitable for educational purposes, and even when found, the financial burden is formidable.

To assist in addressing these persistent issues, we are actively advocating for legislation that would remove legal barriers hindering school districts from voluntarily sharing bond resources with CSI schools within their geographic boundaries. Our bipartisan piece of legislation was introduced just last week, and further details can be found HERE. At the same time, we continue to pursue additional facilities resources for our schools through the Charter School Capital Construction fund.

Ensuring Authorizing Consistency

While Colorado charter schools adhere to stringent accountability standards, the same cannot always be said for the authorizers overseeing them. This results in a varied landscape of practices across the state, where charter schools encounter inconsistent authorizing experiences depending on their district. This lack of consistency creates an uneven and often challenging environment, creating not only unfairness but also a significant deterrent for high-quality schools considering expansion, replication, or new openings.

The League remains committed to examining and advocating for policies that address this inconsistency, striving for a more uniform set of standards and practices for all authorizers. A recent bipartisan bill that was introduced pertains to reporting additional information about authorizing practices in the annual charter school report. Further details about this bill can be found HERE.

Growing Number of Bills Introduced

A steady stream of new bills continues to be introduced every day. To keep you well-informed, we will continuously update our Bill Tracker with the introduction of new bills. Additionally, committee chairs are actively arranging the scheduling of bills, so I want to underscore the significance of regularly checking the tracker for timely updates and staying actively engaged in legislative developments that shape our agenda.

League’s Legislative Bill Tracker

Legislation Opposing Charter Schools

Although the fate of many bills this session remains uncertain, one certainty is the extensive list of proposals on the docket. Notably, there's a piece of legislation coming that targets the charter sector, aiming to undermine the appeals process and eliminate charters' ability to maintain many waivers. We will keep our members informed about how each of you can actively participate and contribute to opposing this harmful proposal.

Legislation We’ve Got Our Eyes On

Feel free to contact us should you have questions or thoughts related to any of the following:

  • HB24-1003 Opiate Antagonists and Detection Products in Schools
    The bill expands existing laws related to opiate antagonists and synthetic opiate detection tests in schools. It allows school districts, the state charter school institute, and governing boards of nonpublic schools to adopt policies for maintaining opiate antagonists on school buses. Additionally, it permits the adoption of policies for non-laboratory additive detection tests. The legislation requires schools to permit students to possess and administer opiate antagonists.
  • HB24-1087 Professional Endorsement Special Education Teaching
    Currently, individuals seeking a teaching endorsement in special education or early childhood special education must fulfill requirements such as completing an approved program, a student teaching practicum, and passing content-based exams. The proposed bill introduces an alternative pathway for educators to obtain this endorsement. To qualify, educators need a valid teaching license (other than an initial license), must pass designated content-based exams determined by the Department of Education, and complete a specialized induction program meeting standards established by the state board of education. Upon successful completion of these components, the department will grant the educator a professional endorsement for instruction in special education or early childhood special education.
  • SB24-049 Content of Material in Libraries
    The bill creates a process allowing students, parents, or community members to object to a library resource (library books) in school or public libraries. A committee for school libraries would evaluate resources based on established standards. The committee for school libraries, appointed by the district superintendent, would cover reconsideration requests district-wide. Any individual from the committee may refuse to remove a resource if he/she believes it conflicts with the law. The state board of education cannot waive the bill's requirements for public schools, district charter schools, and institute charter schools.
    We have engaged in active communication with the sponsors and supporters of this bill, articulating our concerns regarding the waiver provisions, the lack of adequate understanding and appropriate inclusion of charters, and the proposed committee standards and structure. In its current form, the bill falls far short of effectively achieving the intended goals of its sponsors.
  • HB24-1039 Non-Legal Name Changes
    The bill deems a school’s refusal to use a student’s preferred name (as opposed to a legally changed name) as a form of discrimination and establishes a task force in the Colorado Department of Education to provide guidance for school districts. While the bill does not specify remedies for the discriminatory action of not referring to a student by their preferred name, legal costs for school districts and schools may increase if this provision results in lawsuits or other legal actions. Consistent with existing regulations on this topic, we are seeking changes that would only make this qualify as discrimination if it was done in a “knowing and intentional” manner.
Advocacy Resources 
State and Federal Policy Updates (Members Only) 

Exclusively for members, we offer weekly State and Federal Policy Update calls every Friday from 12:00-12:30 PM during the legislative session. If you desire real-time updates and discussions, these calls are an excellent opportunity to stay informed and engaged! Updates started on January 12th and will run through the end of the session in early May. Register now.

Bill Tracker (Members Only)

During the Colorado legislative session, we keep an updated summary of bills currently in the legislature that affect charter schools. In addition to a bill number, title, and description, we include each bill’s last dated action and a link to its fiscal note. Color codes offer easy identification of those bills that have been sent to the governor, signed into law, or postponed indefinitely. Log in to view the latest bill tracker.

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ACT Network: Act for Charters Today

The League's Act for Charters Today (ACT) Advocacy Network is the group and process through which we activate and engage our public charter school families, parents, students, and staff for the common good. This action-oriented network strives to build knowledge, skills, and power to strengthen and support charter schools throughout the state.

Our advocacy efforts are focused on state policies and district initiatives that ensure all Colorado children deserve access to high-quality public school options, including charter schools. Build your charter school knowledge and advocacy skills while taking part in a powerful and influential community statewide that intercedes on behalf of our schools and, more importantly, our students. We’ll give you everything you need to make taking action for charters quick and easy!

Sign Up for ACT Today!


Stay informed, stay engaged, and let's work together to ensure a thriving future for charter schools in Colorado!


Angelina Sierra-Sandoval, MPA
Director of Government Affairs, Colorado League of Charter Schools 

[email protected]