Charter Schools: A Matter of Course

District preparing report on charter schools

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The Douglas County Board of Education has directed district staff to put together a comprehensive report looking at the impact of charter schools in the district because of community concerns about their effects on the district.

The analysis is expected to begin in late summer and be brought before the board during the 2017-18 school year.

The analysis will look at:

1. The impact on programs in neighborhood schools that surround a charter school, from the neighborhood schools’ ability to provide full-time staff, to purchase curriculum resources and to hire sufficient special education and mental health support staff. It also will look at how declining enrollment of students is affected by a charter school as compared to open-enrolling in other neighborhood schools and the natural attrition of an aging community.

2. The difference in money spent for a student who matriculates through a K-12 neighborhood school vs. a student who attends a charter school during elementary years and then transfers to a neighborhood secondary school.

3. The impact on delivering special education services to all students: Given that charters have been used to accommodate growth, have magnet/center-based programs been equally distributed for equitable access throughout the district? How many charters house intensive programs that meet the needs of students identified as special needs?

4. Whether DCSD is meeting the goal of the 1993 Charter Schools Act’s main philosophy — to provide “smaller environments to experiment with educational programs and develop innovative ways to educate at-risk students

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