Guide to Charter Schools in Colorado Springs, Colorado

These past two years have caused families to evaluate the educational needs of their children. Students have gone from in-person learning to online very suddenly, then they were thrust back into schools sometimes before families were ready. This has parents and guardians assessing the needs of their families and children.

Parents want what is best for their children and are looking for a different approach to their child’s education. This article will help answer some of the questions about enrolling at a tuition-free public charter school to educate your child.

What is the difference between a charter school and a public school in Colorado Springs?

Charter schools are public schools! As in all regions, Colorado Springs offers school choice to families. This means that families are provided a variety of options for their children’s education, and are empowered to make the best decision for their children’s needs. Charter schools are tuition-free public schools that are open to all students. Similar to traditional schools, public charter schools are funded with taxpayer dollars. A charter school operates under a performance contract with either the school district it will serve or the state’s authorizing agency.

What is a Tuition-Free Public Charter School in Colorado?

A tuition-free, public charter school is similar to a traditional public school as it also offers education to kids in pre-kindergarten to grade 12. Community members such as guardians, parents, and teachers can petition for a new charter school to be opened.

Often, it is the governing board of the local school district that evaluates and approves petitions for the opening of a new charter school. In authorizing charter schools, the General Assembly created an avenue for parents, teachers, and community members “to take responsible risks and create new, innovative, more flexible ways of educating all children within the public school system.”

Another similarity shared by charter schools with traditional public schools is the source of funding. Both schools are funded by the state. However, these two school types differ in their administration and management since charter schools have independent control. Charter schools enjoy more flexibility in how they run their schools such as in areas of hiring and curriculum management.

Elected school boards, and school districts and their board-appointed superintendents oversee traditional public schools whereas charter schools are managed by an entity under the supervision of their self-appointed board. This means charter schools have more independence than usual public schools, allowing them to make their own rules and innovate new ideas.

What tuition-free public charter schools are available in Colorado Springs?

You should check out Eastlake High School. We are a tuition-free, fee-free, student-centered public school with limitless compassion for guiding students toward a bright future. Enrollment is open now and students are able to join us throughout the school year. Students in need of alternative pathways, flexibility, dropout prevention, vocational training and college preparation find hope and options at Eastlake High School.

Students and staff work together to create personalized goals and learning plans. With our custom-built, flexible academic programs, we can cater to diverse learning styles in ways traditional schools can’t (Lord of the Rings class, anyone?). We even offer both hybrid and in-person learning.

Eastlake students gain practical, hands-on experience through 300 hours of work and volunteer hours in our local community. Students can also graduate when they are ready at Eastlake. They can finish mid-year or after completing several college courses while still getting that hard-earned cap and gown photo since we hold graduation ceremonies twice a year. We are different on purpose, and it helps our students chase and achieve their goals with confidence.

Are There Other Tuition-Free and Public Charter Schools Available in Colorado Springs?

You can choose to apply and enroll your children in a tuition-free, public charter school even if it is outside your school district. Colorado Springs charter schools do not have to comply with boundary school rules. Thus, parents in Colorado Springs can opt for the charter school of their choice and not worry about breaking district rules. Colorado laws state that charter schools admit any child residing in the state if their capacity allows it. 

What is the Process of Enrolling my Child in a Tuition-Free Public Charter School in Colorado Springs? 

The enrollment process of charter schools is highly similar to other school types. They require an application where parents have to provide information about the child such as name, address, birth date, ethnic background, and the last school attended.

It is your responsibility to check the charter schools’ application and enrollment deadlines along with the school's specific enrollment rules, policies, and requirements. Charter schools may have different rules and processes but all of their admission rules must comply with state laws. According to Colorado laws, charter schools cannot implement policies that unlawfully discriminate against their applicants. 

You should also remember that there is a high possibility of seeing your child's name on the school's waitlist especially if you applied to a sought-after charter school. Many charter schools receive more applications than their capacities allow. Schools that have more applicants than they can take in usually employ a random selection process also known as a lottery system. 

Do Public Charter Schools Offer High-Quality Education in Colorado Springs?

Parents want the best for their children, so making sure your child is getting the best education is a must. People have long wondered how charter schools stack up against public schools in Colorado. 

According to the Colorado League of Charters, 7 of the top 10 schools in Colorado are charter schools. The number of charter schools in Colorado has also increased 51% over the past decade. Colorado has the 2nd best charter school laws. Colorado charter schools provide significantly better results in reading and math for all students.


About Eastlake High School

Eastlake High School is an alternative, tuition-free public high school launched in 2004 as an answer to the growing number of students seeking options on the path to a diploma. Our highly qualified staff meets students where they are, with flexible scheduling and custom-built academic programs. Community, personalized learning and unwavering support are the heart of our mission. Located in Colorado Springs, Colorado, we enroll 9th-12th grade students year-round. Join us–We’re different on purpose.