Over the past five years, the number of Denver students attending district-run schools has decreased while the number of students in charter schools has grown.
Disagreement over the role of charters in the district marked the heated Nov. 5 school board election. Ahead of the new board members being sworn in Dec. 4, here’s a look at the number and location of charter schools in Denver.
It comes courtesy of three charts provided recently to the school board. The charts show not only the growth of autonomous schools, such as charter schools and district-run schools with “innovation status,” but also the distribution of autonomous schools around the city.
This mixture of school types in Denver Public Schools has been known as the “portfolio model” — or in the district’s phrasing, the Denver “family of schools.”
Some charter schools post among the highest test scores in Denver, and supporters say the flexibility that charters have from state and district rules allows the independently run schools to innovate.
But critics, including the Denver teachers union, oppose charters for siphoning students and funding from district-run schools. The three school board candidates who won expressed skepticism about charters and vowed not to open any more.
Some parts of the city have more charter schools than others. For instance, 40% of public schools in far northeast Denver are charters. But in southeast Denver, only 17% of schools are charters.