Board of Education Statement Regarding Charter School Application

Ascent Classical Academy has expressed interest in opening a charter school in the District. 

Under state law, the Board of Education has exclusive authority to authorize charter schools within District boundaries. This means that any group interested in opening a charter school here must apply to the District. 

State law and District policy require potential charter schools to seek authorization a year in advance of opening. State law allows local boards of education to set the application date, provided it is between August 1st and October 1st. Per policy, the application date in this District is August 1st. The Board then has 90 days to make a decision on the application, which allows time for District staff, the District Accountability Committee, and the community to provide feedback.”

Earlier this school year, Ascent Classical asked that the District grant it an earlier application date, so that it could go ahead and file an application and start the District’s review process, many months in advance. Ascent Classical then asked that it be allowed to skip the District’s application process and apply instead to the state Charter School Institute for authorization. The District did not approve Ascent’s requests.

On February 7, 2022, Ascent attempted to submit a charter school application. The District reiterated the August 1st filing date and stated that in the event Ascent Classical continues to be interested in establishing a charter school in the District, it could file an application at that time, and that application would be reviewed.

Despite its previous belief that it needed the District’s permission to file an application early, Ascent Classical demanded immediate review and took the position that the 90-day time period allowed by law had started to run. Ascent Classical threatened to file an administrative appeal to the State Board of Education to circumvent the established August 1st filing date.

The Board of Education supports efforts by parents and guardians, teachers, or other interested persons or organizations interested in establishing charter schools within the District, consistent with the timeline and review process set in state statute and District policy. 

 To protect its constitutional right to local control and its lawful interest in an equitable and workable charter review process that is applied consistently to all potential charter schools, the District has asked the District Court for La Plata County to declare that the District is not required to review Ascent Classical’s charter application until August 1, 2022.  

 The District just learned late this afternoon (March 8, 2022) that Ascent Classical has decided not to respect the judicial process, and instead has filed an appeal to the State Board. Upon initial review, that appeal appears to be completely improper, and the District will respond in due course.”

Kristin Smith
9-R Board of Education