Sen. Keith King (R-Colo. Springs) and Rep. Karen Middleton (D-Aurora) are co-sponsors of a bill to clean up some issues for the Charter School Institute. The bill will permit CSI to carry over funds into the next fiscal year and operate with more autonomy from state agency laws.
Under current law CSI schools are limited in what they can do to finance their facilities. SB 89 would allow for one percent to be held for a capital construction grant assistance fund. The amount being withheld by CDE for each CSI student will be decreased through this legislation, allowing for the difference to be put into this capital construction fund. Schools with unusual capital construction needs would be able to apply for a grant if they have matching funds.
Additionally, this bill would allow CSI schools to participate in the State Treasurer's intercept program. Non-CSI charter schools can divert some of their money directly to the State Treasurer's account designed for this purpose, to pay their bonds directly. This ensures a better rate for the charter schools because their funds are more secure.
Probably the most important provision in SB 89 is the ability for CSI to charter a school with "statewide interest" anywhere in the state. There has been talk over the years about creating a migrant education program that travels throughout the state or an alternative school for a particular region of the state. Currently CSI can only charter in districts that don't have exclusive chartering authority. Allowing CSI to charter a "statewide interest" school would open up the possibilities to serve needy student populations in a more economical manner.