Colorado Lawmaker Proposes End to Charter Schools’ Regulatory Exemptions

Published March 23, 2016

A Colorado state lawmaker is proposing a bill that would eliminate charter schools’ exemption from some state laws, but a charter school group says the proposal is unnecessary and burdensome.

House Bill 16-1343, sponsored by state Rep. Dominick Moreno (D-Commerce City), would eliminate charter schools’ exemption from 18 state laws, including regulations on observation of national holidays, requirements for competitive bidding, and compulsory attendance laws. Under current law, charter schools are automatically granted waivers for these regulations, once each such school is approved by the government.

The proposed legislation would allow charter schools to apply for the waivers on a case-by-case basis. Charter schools would be required to submit rationale-and-replacement plans to the local school district and the state board of education that show how the school plans to satisfy the intended purposes of any waived law.

Will Cause Greater Burdens

Dan Schaller, director of advocacy for the Colorado League of Charter Schools, says the bill will lead to greater burdens for charter schools.

“If successful, HB 16-1343 will undo a commonsense approach that eliminates unnecessary paperwork,” Schaller said.

According to the Colorado League of Charter Schools, waivers have become commonplace over the past two decades, which led to the creation of the current system, where automatic waivers are applied under a law passed in 2014.

Schaller says current law allows traditional public schools to pursue waivers from certain state requirements. Most of the waivers, he says, refer to laws regulating government schools, and not are not applicable to charter schools.

In 2014, state Reps. Millie Hamner (D-Dillon) and Carole Murray (R-Castle Rock) sponsored House Bill 14-1292, the Student Success Act (SSA). Provisions in SSA automatically waives some state mandates previously required for new charter schools. SSA received near-unanimous support in the state’s legislature when it was proposed.

Johnny Kampis ([email protected]) is a content editor for An earlier version of this article was published at Reprinted with permission.