Jan 18, 2022 - News

Denver school board renews charter schools

A student reads at her desk at Denver's Strive Prep-Sunnyside charter school in 2015. Photo: RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Denver's first school board in recent history to be backed entirely by the teachers union renewed the district's contracts with 16 charter schools, despite some members expressing concerns.

  • The length of each school's renewal was based on several factors, including academic performance, campus culture and financial health.

Why it matters: This was among the board's first major decisions since three new members were elected in November, our education reporting partners at Chalkbeat write.

  • All seven members are opposed to a set of strategies favored by past school boards that included closing struggling district-run schools and expanding high-performing charter school networks.

Context: The teachers union in the past has been critical of charter schools, which are publicly funded but independently run.

  • Board president Xóchitl "Sochi" Gaytán was the only member to vote "no" on renewing the charter contracts, while board vice president Tay Anderson characterized his "yes" vote as a reluctant one.

What they're saying: Several board members referenced Denver Public Schools' declining enrollment and thanked the charter school community for a recent commitment to participate in a districtwide process to develop criteria for when to close or consolidate small schools.

Of note: Anderson planned to vote against some of the renewals, but changed his mind after the charter schools agreed to participate in consolidation talks.

  • "That was my line in the sand," he told Chalkbeat. "When I saw them make the good-faith effort to say, 'We’re willing to come to the table,' that says a whole lot for me."

Go deeper with our partners at Chalkbeat


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