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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.

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.
  • There are 266 charter schools in Colorado serving over 131,000 students ('20-21).
  • Charter school enrollment in Colorado is 15% 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 students of color, 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 2017-18, statewide data regarding students enrolled in charter schools demonstrates comparable diversity to traditional public schools:

  • 51% of Colorado charter public school students are students of color.
  • 45% of Colorado non-charter public students are students of color.


 Student Group


Public Schools

Public Schools
35.9% 33.6%
 Black 6.1% 3.7%
 Asian 2.9% 2.2%
 American Indian or Alaskan Native  
0.8% 0.8%
 Native Hawaiian 0.3% 0.2%
 Two or More Races 3.6% 3.7%


Socio-Economic and At-Risk Factors
 Student Group


Public Schools

Public Schools
Eligible for Free or Reduced Lunch (FRL)  
43.7% 47.0%
English Learners 21.1% 16.3%



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.