Last week, the Greeley 6 School District placed a proposed mill levy override on the ballot only to have it fail by a 2 to 1 margin. This measure included the district's charter schools.
In the last few weeks of the campaign, the Colorado League of Charter Schools came out endorsing the mill levy override ballot measure. According to the League's Executive Director, Jim Griffin, this endorsement came as a result of the district including its charter schools in a manner better than the statutory minimum required.
As a nonprofit, the League can endorse a ballot measure. The problem inherent for a nonprofit that has members of both ends of the political spectrum, and whose members have both supported and opposed this particular proposed tax increase, is making a broad statement without offending a portion of the membership.
The quintessential issue for the League is that Colorado's charter schools are about 40% Core Knowledge (traditional, high expectations, content rich) while the rest of the schools are as diverse as the students themselves: alternative/dropout; youth detention or partnered with the juvenile justice system; pregnant and parenting teens; experiential; and progressive. Historically, the charter school community has maintained its cohesiveness by focusing on the commonalities while respecting the stark differences.
This is the first time the League has supported a ballot issue. Certainly individual members have been involved in campaigns for ballot measures and candidates, including League board members. Since this League endorsement didn't receive board approval before it was publicized, it's hard to say how the League will handle endorsements in the future. To be sure, there will be continued discussion in the charter school community from members who want to know what their membership in the League means to their schools.