Colorado Charter Schools May Be Saved by Smaller Building Grant Fund Cuts

A week ago I brought your attention to concerns from Colorado charter school parents and leaders that grant money for facility projects was at serious risk. Public charter schools already face significant inequities when it comes to receiving funds for construction and maintenance.

But cutting back the state’s charter school capital construction fund from $10 million to $5 million – as initially proposed by the governor and lawmakers on the powerful Joint Budget Committee (JBC) – also put eligibility for federal grant funds at risk, a double whammy.

So news like this from the Colorado League of Charter Schools is really good concerning the circumstances:

We are excited to report that our efforts at the Capitol, and especially your calls, emails and persistence have paid off. The JBC has revised its proposal and is now recommending that charter school capital construction funding be cut by $2.5 million instead of $5 million. Your efforts helped save $2.5 million in funding for charter schools. We couldn’t have done it without you!

The new budget proposals still need to be approved by the State Appropriations

Even though Capital Construction funding for charters may still be reduced from $10 million to $7.5 million, the $2.5 million that we have saved from budget cuts is enough to keep Colorado in the running to receive substantial federal incentive matching grants for charters. We could still see millions of dollars in additional facilities funding for charters over the next five years!

No one denies this is an exceptionally tough economic year. How often does K-12 education face any significant budget cuts? Yet while charter schools can’t be immune from the cutbacks, they certainly didn’t deserve to bear an undue portion, as was originally proposed. It’s good to see that the public charter schools parents choose for their children aren’t likely to be put in dire straits as far as building funds are concerned.

Sometimes, a smaller cut is a small victory.