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ERIC Number: ED498195
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Feb
Pages: 74
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 11
2006 Special Education Services in Charter Schools: Surveying Perceptions of Charter School Administrators and Special Education Directors
Colorado Department of Education
In 2002, the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) published a study on charter schools and special education that documented significant unresolved issues between Colorado charter schools and Local Education Agencies (LEAs). This study specifically examined the cost and quality of services, school district/Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES)-school communications and support, and school knowledge of and compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Since then, the number of charter schools in Colorado has grown. The state has made regulatory and legislative changes including the creation of a statewide chartering agency, the Colorado Charter School Institute. In accordance with the 2002 recommendations, CDE has sought to increase the capacity of charter schools and districts by providing trainings, guidelines, guidebooks, a sample compliance plan, and other resources. In light of these developments, new research was deemed necessary. Building on the 2002 study, this study provides (1) updated information on charter school demographics, special education services, funding mechanisms, and satisfaction levels; (2) details on the progress made on the implementation of the 2002 recommendations; and (3) a comprehensive set of new recommendations based on findings presented in these data. Drawn from 178 survey responses and 21 interviews, the data shows a growing level of support through CDE guidance and training as well as district/BOCES provided technical support, more cooperation between schools and LEAs, and some improvement in their relationship. This progress notwithstanding, there are still gaps in cooperation and information, particularly in the area of finance, institutional capacity, and support and guidance materials. These gaps can be filled in part with information shared through guidance materials and training for school administrators and LEA personnel. As noted in the recommendations, planning and engagement are essential. School founders should engage in comprehensive planning for special education before the school opens its doors. With clear information about finance models and costs provided by the LEA, the school and the district/BOCES would be able to better negotiate a plan that best serves the students. Once open, the school should be able to draw upon the district/BOCES, the state, and outside organizations for training, guidance, mentoring, and technical assistance. The data gathered for this study suggests that many of these activities are presently being conducted at schools across the state but they are far from the standard. As the number of charter schools continues to grow, it is essential that capacity building activities become fully integrated into the education system. Colorado parents benefit from being able to choose among traditional and charter public schools. Building the capacity in charter schools to serve students with special needs will ensure that their families have full access to Colorado's school choice opportunities. Surveying Perceptions of Charter School Administrators and Special Education Directors and Surveying Perceptions of Charter School Administrators and Special Education Directors are appended. (Contains 10 graphs and 14 tables.) [For 2002 report, see ED473534.]
Colorado Department of Education. State Office Building, 201 East Colfax Avenue, Denver, CO 80203. Tel: 303-866-6600; Fax: 303-830-0793; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Colorado State Dept. of Education, Denver.
Identifiers - Location: Colorado
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act