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Crestone will appeal to keep its charter school

Brief by Central Staff

Education – April 2000 – Colorado Central Magazine

Colorado doesn’t have school vouchers, but it does allow for charter schools.

In essence, a group organizes to operate a school, and gets a charter from the local school board, which in turn allows the charter school to get local and state educational funds.

So it happened in Crestone in 1995, and its five-year charter expires this year. Crestone is in the Moffat Consolidated School District — and that board voted 5-0 against renewing the charter.

The Crestone Charter school apparently enjoys support from parents and students there — enrollment has grown from 36 to 58 students. But the Moffat school board voted 5-0 against renewing the charter, citing financial grounds, since the funds follow the students, and more students in the charter school means fewer students in Moffat.

The Crestone school’s governing board has appealed that decision to the Colorado State Board of Education, and a hearing is scheduled for April 12.

Without getting into the specifics of the two schools’ programs, it strikes us that:

1) Parents are responsible for their children’s education. Our society assists, and perhaps it could assist more, but the responsibility is part of parenthood.

2) A substantial number of parents in and around Crestone support the charter school with their time and energy.

3) It is not in the long-term interest of any public school to force its methods and curriculum on people who have worked hard to create an alternative.

Why? Because that will just create more support for vouchers, and educators are always telling us that “vouchers will destroy the public schools” (an assertion we doubt, but we’ll take them at their word here).

It strikes us that the best course for public schools is to recognize that one size doesn’t fit all, and to adapt gracefully, rather than fighting the inevitable.