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I sat on the Douglas County School District Charter Application Review Team as a parent volunteer for three straight years, ending just last year, and not once did I hear that there was student competition for seats. Thus, this new insight - as reported in this newspaper several weeks ago - affects both current charters and public schools in the district.
The intent of the 1993 Charter School Act is not being carried out by many of the charter school applications. The district canceled charter school bus transportation last year, effectively limiting choice. There is no charter school student exit data and if the student returns to their home school after the October count date, the home school receives no money and must admit the student. If all the accepted applications begin by next fall, the district will have the highest number of charters in Colorado.
The timing of the report requested by the board to examine the impact of charters is questionable and will not affect this year's application process. The district needs to get a better plan in certain areas than simply using charters to absorb student count changes. Maybe it is time to stop the current application process until the board members have a completed report and specific policy to which they all adhere.
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