Colorado Legislative Council Staff



State General Fund Expenditure Impact

School District Revenue Impact

Drafting Number:

Prime Sponsor(s):

LLS 98-663

Rep. Owen

Sen. B. Alexander


Bill Status:

Fiscal Analyst:

February 1, 1998

House Education

Janis Baron (866-3523)



Summary of Legislation


FY 1998/99

FY 1999/2000

State Revenues

General Fund

Other Fund



State Expenditures

General Fund — Public School Finance Act, Total Program

$ 0

Up To $2,852,250

FTE Position Change



Local Government Impact — See School District Impact section of this fiscal note.

            The bill includes the following provisions related to alternative chartering authority for charter schools:


               permits the Colorado Commission on Higher Education (CCHE) to designate a community college, college, or university as a sponsoring authority for an alternative charter school;

               permits the sponsoring authority to operate an alternative charter school or to contract with another entity to operate the school;

               limits the sponsoring authority to three alternative charter schools in the first three years and five additional schools in the following three years;

               requires the sponsoring authority, or the contractor with the sponsoring authority, to prepare and submit an operating plan to CCHE for review and comment by October 1, prior to the academic year that the alternative charter school will begin operations;

               defines alternative charter school, and identifies and defines the mission for four types of alternative charter schools:


                              gifted and talented

                              advanced vocational-technical


               identifies the requirements, options, and operating plan contents for alternative charter schools:

                             prohibits the conversion of a private school or home school into an alternative charter school or the creation of a charter school that is a home school;

                             permits the conversion of an existing charter school into an alternative charter school, with a new operating plan as required in this new law;

               permits the State Board of Education to grant waivers of teacher licensure to allow college instructors to teach in an alternative charter school;

               permits students in an alternative charter school to receive college credit if they take college-level courses;

               allows teachers the same general employee options allowed in the “Charter Schools Act”;

               requires the receipt of 100 percent of per pupil operating revenues (PPOR) by the sponsoring authority, which is then passed on to the alternative charter school;

               considers an alternative charter school as a campus program operated by the sponsoring authority, and counts pupils as full-time students for purposes of higher education funding;

               directs the proportionate share of moneys generated from serving students with disabilities to alternative charter schools;

               requires a report to the Education Committees of the General Assembly by January 1, 2002, based on the compilation of evaluations from the sponsoring authorities and CCHE;

               repeals the act, effective July 1, 2003; and

               authorizes the Stated Board of Education to accredit entities created under this new law and deemed public schools of the state.

            The bill is effective upon signature of the Governor.

State Expenditures

            Department of Education. The department indicates that there are three entities in the state expressing an interest in pursuing a charter school from an alternative licensing authority: Greeley (the lab school at the University of Northern Colorado); Douglas County (vocational education programs provided at Arapahoe Community College); and Pueblo (educational programs provided by either Public Community College, the University of Southern Colorado, or both).

            Under the bill, if all participating students in alternative charter schools are currently attending public school, there would be no fiscal impact. However, should students who are currently in private school or in a home-school program attend alternative charter schools, it would represent an increase in school finance funding. The Department of Education indicates that current charter schools have between 200 and 250 pupils, thus any new alternative charter school authorized would have comparable enrollment. This fiscal note assumes that some percentage of enrollment in alternative charter schools would come from private schools and home-school programs.

            Additionally, the 575 students currently at the lab school at the University of Northern Colorado (UNC) are not counted for the purpose of school finance funding. Should these students be eligible to be counted, it would represent an increase of approximately $2.6 million via the Public School Finance Act. The current per pupil operating revenue (PPOR) received by the Greeley School District is $4,470.

            Because the bill requires operating plans for alternative charter schools to be submitted on or before October 1 preceding the school year during which it is to begin its operation, there will be no fiscal impact in FY 1998-99. The bill is assessed as having a conditional fiscal impact in FY 1999-00, and is predicated on:

               10 percent of new enrollment at alternative charter schools will come from private schools and home-school programs:

                 —      3 alternative charter schools open with an enrollment of 200 students = 600 students

                 —      10% of 600 = 60 students

                 —      60 students x $4,700 PPOR = $282,000

               students currently attending the lab school at UNC are included in the state count:

                 —      575 students x $4,470 PPOR = $2,570,250

            Department of Higher Education. Although the bill places requirements on CCHE, the department indicates that the administrative responsibilities required can be absorbed within existing appropriations.

School District Impact

            To the extent that alternative charter schools are established and include students who come from a private school, a home-school program, or the lab school at UNC, there would be additional moneys made available to the districts through the Public School Finance Act because of their ability to count these students.

Spending Authority

            The bill does not require additional spending authority for FY 1998-99.

Departments Contacted


            Higher Education