A record 21 charter school applicants have submitted a Letter of Intent to Submit an Application to Denver Public Schools. In addition, another 11 applications are expected for "performance schools," which I'm assuming includes contract and innovation schools.
Back when the Charter Schools Act was first adopted, DPS had the reputation as being "the last frontier" for charter schools. At that time, DPS denied all applications and litigated the Booth case right up to the state Supreme Court. Claudia Booth was an African American educator who wanted to start a middle school in northwest Denver. Although her name has become well-known in the charter school community, Ms. Booth never got her school.
To date, DPS has more charter schools than any other district in the state. Although the percentage of charter school students to noncharter public school students (the "saturation rate") isn't even in the high range, DPS has developed a well-respected reputation for being a fair and reasonable charter school authorizer.
DPS has a partnership with the National Association of Charter School Authorizers, which provides them with an onsite staff member for a year. NACSA has helped DPS develop several materials, including their Request for Applications which is the foundation for the application process the district is currently conducting. Applications are due to DPS next Monday.
In addition to some of the expected applications, there are a few brand new applicants including a Russian language school, a K-6 school proposed by a church and a medical charter school. Schools submitting proposals this month will anticipate opening in the fall of 2010.