APS extends contracts with 5 charter schools

Rocky Mountain Prep Fletcher, from the school’s website

AURORA | Five charter schools serving more than 3,300 students will stay open in Aurora Public Schools with newly-renewed contracts.

School board members unanimously renewed charter school contracts for five APS schools Tuesday night: Aurora Academy, Aurora Expeditionary Learning Academy, Rocky Mountain Prep, Academy of Advanced Learning and Global Village Academy.

In Colorado’s charter school system, residents can start their own schools but must have a contract authorized by a local school district or state government.

The school contracts would have expired in 2020 or 2021, throwing their futures into jeopardy.

The district Office of Autonomous Schools conducted reviews of the charter schools and found no major financial or academic issues with the autonomous schools.

Together, the five schools are educating more than 3,300 students from Aurora or surrounding areas, according to district enrollment projections.

The contract extensions are:

  • Rocky Mountain Prep, five-year extension
  • Academy of Advanced Learning, five-year extension
  • Aurora Academy, five-year extension
  • Aurora Expeditionary Learning Academy, two-year extension
  • Global Village Academy, two-year extension

The district audit found financial and staffing issues at some schools, but the shortcomings weren’t enough for school board members to kill their contracts Tuesday night.

McKenzie Khan, the district director of charter schools, said AXL suffered from “massive turnover.” School officials told the school board that the problem stemmed from personnel issues and can be remedied.

Global Village Academy also saw a frequent change in leadership, district auditors said, and needs a better process for evaluating student academic success.

The Academy of Advanced Learning was in breach of a requirement to hold part of its budget in a reserve under the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, or TABOR. Munn also recommended that the school enroll more students.