A good week for the Colorado Charter School Institute

The Colorado Charter School Institute has been busy sending out press releases this week, as it fields one controversy after another.

But so far, it’s celebrating.

The first press release, sent Tuesday, celebrated the Colorado Supreme Court’s decision not to hear the Boulder Valley School District’s case charging that the very existence of the Colorado Charter School Institute is unconstitutional. The lower court decision, in favor of the Institute, now stands.

The Boulder Valley School District had argued that the Institute’s ability to charter schools in areas, over the school district’s objection, was unconstitutional.

Colorado Education News:

In 2005 Boulder and two other districts sued the state, arguing that the institute law was unconstitutional because it gave the state board power beyond general supervisory control of schools, was an invalid exercise of legislative power and infringed on the state constitution’s guarantee of local control of schools.

The law gives institute schools state financial aid that otherwise would have gone to the district. (Districts keep the local revenue allocated to those students.)

The second press release, sent just hours later, celebrated the secession—finally—of two Cesar Chavez Schools Network (CCSN) schools chartered by the Institute.

A recent weeks-long battle resulting in the firing of chief administrator Lawrence Hernandez and his wife appears to have been precipitated by the Network’s demand that the online GOAL Academy and Cesar Chavez North have their own boards, independent of the Network.

From the press release:

The activities by the CCSN at these schools—such as repeated firings of school principals, mass firings of teachers and closing down online education services to students—raised questions about the ability of the network to continue to provide quality education to its students.

As the CCSN leadership and board repeatedly failed to comply with our agreement, the institute prepared to initiate the process to revoke the charters from CCSN and to issue new charters for each school to the new boards, created in accordance with the August agreement.

Drama over, the Institute now turns back to the task of educating children—a task that may be controversial enough already.

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Katie Redding

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