Charter School FAQs

With more than 250 statewide, charter schools are an important part of the public education system in the state of Colorado. We look to develop strong partnerships with charter schools within the Weld RE-4 School District boundaries in order to serve the diverse educational needs of our community.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the differences between a charter school and traditional public school?
A charter school is a tuition-free public school that operates under a contract somewhat separately from the local school district. The largest difference between a charter school and a traditional public school is that enrollment to a charter school is not assigned by address, and families must apply for enrollment. Just like traditional public schools, charter schools are not private, not religiously affiliated, nonsectarian, and non-home based.

What is Weld RE-4 School District’s role with charter schools?
We are an authorizing school district, which means that any charter schools looking to open within our district boundaries must apply and seek approval from the Weld RE-4 School District Board of Education. Learn more in Board Policy LBD.

What is the application process for charter schools looking to open in the Weld RE-4 School District’s boundaries?
To establish a charter school within the Weld RE-4 School District, the charter school must submit an application to the district for review. Once the review is complete, the application is submitted to the Board of Education for approval, approval with conditions, or denial. For more information, visit Board Policy LBD-R.

How are charter schools governed? 
Charter schools operate semi-autonomously, meaning they are governed by their own board within an operating contract established with our district.

How are charter schools funded? 
Just like traditional public schools, charter schools receive Per Pupil Revenue from the state funding formula for operating costs. Typically, funding for physical infrastructure and site costs are financed and paid for through Per Pupil Revenue or awarded grants. By state statute, charter schools must receive their proportionate share of any future mill levy overrides as passed by the voters. Through mutual agreement, charter schools may be included in future district bond initiatives.

Do charter schools have to follow Colorado Department of Education policies, standards, and assessments?
Yes and no. Charter schools must follow all State Board of Education accreditation requirements, content standards, and state-mandated assessments. However, a charter school may request or automatically receive waivers from provisions of state law and any state or local rule, regulation, policy, or procedure relating to schools in the school district. For example, charter schools automatically receive waivers for licensure laws, meaning that educators may not have to hold a teaching license.

How does enrollment work with a charter school?
Unlike a traditional public school, enrollment to a charter school is not automatically assigned, and families must apply for enrollment. The charter school may or may not have a lottery system and/or waitlist in place. The state prohibits any discrimination in the charter school enrollment process, and, so, a diagnostic or placement exam cannot be used as a tool for enrollment criteria. 

Would more charter schools help with the district’s capacity issues?
Yes and no. As a school of choice, a charter school is open to students within and beyond the Weld RE-4 School District boundaries. Agreements regarding the percentage of students that need to be from within the Weld RE-4 School district boundaries or prioritization of local students is one of the negotiated items with charter applicants. 

Is transportation provided to a charter school?
It depends. Transportation is not provided by our district to charter school students unless specifically outlined in the charter document. Charter schools may or may not offer transportation as a service.

Are services for students with special needs provided by charter schools?
Yes. Charter schools must comply with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Office of Civil Rights (OCR), and any state special education laws. Special education services may be provided by the district if specified in the charter agreement.



To learn more, visit the Colorado Department of Education or the Colorado League of Charter Schools.