Our neighboring state to the south adopted a charter school law similar to ours a few years after Colorado. Their new state authorizer recently denied all but one charter school application.
A recent change in New Mexico's charter school law gave applicants the choice to go straight to the state for approval. In its inaugural application process, the state's Public Education Commission denied all but one application for new state-chartered schools. Some applicants thought the application process was flawed and applicants needed more clear direction. "This commission needs to take responsibility" in making sure charter developers know what's expected of them, said Dennis Deliman, whose Arenas Valley Charter School was denied. Lisa Grover of the New Mexico Coalition for Charter Schools said the application process focuses too much on small details and should instead look at school management and academic programs. "We're talking about where governing councils' agendas are posted," said Grover. "That to me is not where we would like to see the conversation." Source: Santa Fe New Mexican, (09/12/2007) http://www.freenewmexican.com/news/68432.html
This is a great reminder of how fortunate the charter school community in Colorado is that the state Charter School Institute established itself with a fair, but rigorous process and a reputation for being tough, but willing to give the benefit of the doubt to a quality charter applicant. When state authorizers are established having people who understand the vision is critical. Just as charter schools are driven by a vision, charter authorizers need to have a vision for their role.