Public School Choice

Colorado is a leader in public school choice offerings, including the following:

  • Open enrollment — The Public Schools of Choice Act of 1990 opened the door for students to choose to attend a school outside of their neighborhood school attendance boundaries, either in their school district of residence or another Colorado public school district.
  • Charter schools — The Charter Schools Act was enacted in 1993. Public charter schools may be authorized by local school districts or by the state-run Charter School Institute. With greater autonomy to set personnel policies and to determine curriculum and program, Colorado’s more than 160 charter schools provide a range of options.
  • Public Online Education — The Colorado legislature first authorized school districts and charter schools to create online educational programs in 1998. There are currently 22 multi-district programs, open to all Colorado students, and 23 single-district programs, open to students only residing in the district’s boundaries.
  • Innovation schools — Passed in 2008, the Innovation Schools Act is intended to improve student outcomes by supporting greater school autonomy and flexibility in academic and operational decision-making. The Act provides a means for existing public schools and districts to gain waivers from state laws and collective bargaining agreements. More than 20 Colorado schools — mostly in Denver — have secured innovation status from the State Board of Education.
  • Magnet, option, and focus schools — Some districts offer schools with special programs, designed for students with particular needs or interests.
  • Contract schools — In some cases, school districts will contract with non-public entities to provide a complete educational program. See below for more details.

Check here for the latest on charter schools and online education

Education Policy Center Resources:

Other Resources:

Charter Schools

Public Online Education

Innovation Schools

Other School Choice Resources