The primary reason charter schools close in Colorado is financial problems. Typically this is an overcommitment in a facility financing packaging; sometimes it's simply lack of enrollment.
Because this issue has been so important to charter school longevity, for the past six years the Charter School Business Manager Network has been a safe place for Business Managers to network and get the information they need to do their job well. For example, in the spring of each year the group develops their budgets together, taking into consideration the anticipated cost of living increase, changes to charter school capital construction funding, and other variables. In addition, the Network has created a How to Open and Operate a Charter School Business Office guide, which is valuable to new Business Managers, or Business Managers new to their position.
On Nov. 6th CDE's Schools of Choice Unit will host its annual Charter School Finance Seminar. This is for charter school board members, administrators, Business Managers and Finance Committee members. As in years past, this is a great opportunity to learn everything from how to align the school's vision/mission with the budget to how to budget for Special Education costs. Two consecutive workshops will be "SimCharter"--a small group activity similar to the game "SimCity." The group will decide what type of school, its size, number of staff members, and other figures and then deal with a crisis such as the principal leaving or a situation that would cause a significant drop in student enrollment.
The role of a charter school Business Manager is very unique. The public would expect to find a Principal at a school, but not someone dealing with the finances. Depending on the type of charter school and its size, the job description could include supervising staff or unplugging toilets. Making sure a charter school has financial safeguards in place and a transparent system, is the responsibility of charter school founders, governing board members, administration and the Finance Committee.