Charter School Institute Legal Victory A Win for Families Seeking Opportunity

Yesterday provided great news for Colorado families who live in school districts unfriendly to certain public education options. The Charter School Institute, a state body created by the legislature in 2004 as another way to authorize charter schools, secured an important legal victory.

From a press release in the Attorney General’s office:

Colorado Attorney General John Suthers praised a decision by the Colorado Court of Appeals today that upheld the constitutionality of the Colorado Charter Schools Act.

The case centers on Boulder Valley School District’s claim that the General Assembly does not have constitutional authority to create and fund charter schools that are not controlled by local school boards.

In the Opinion issued today, a majority of the three-judge panel hearing the case found that the General Assembly did not run afoul of the state constitution when it authorized creation of the Colorado Charter School Institute, which authorizes and manages Institute charter schools independent of local school district authority. All funding for Institute charter schools comes from the state, and not from local sources. There are no Institute charter schools in Boulder Valley.

“We are pleased that the court of appeals agreed with us that Boulder Valley School District is wrong to claim that Colorado legislature cannot provide educational options that are not under the control of local districts,” commented Attorney General John Suthers. “The Charter School Act is particularly helpful to provide school options for kids in low-income and minority communities in our state.”

The State maintained that the Constitution does not limit the General Assembly’s authority to develop innovative education programs like charter schools, so long as those schools are funded with State tax dollars. The State had asked the court to uphold a district court decision dismissing Boulder Valley’s claims for that reason.

This ruling truly is a blessing for students and parents seeking new options to meet their educational needs. The Charter School Institute currently authorizes 16 schools. You can find them, along with every other school in the state, on the wonderful School Choice for Kids website.

(You also can find more on the court decision at Ed News Colorado.)