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Colorado Charter Schools Rally

April 2, 2009 Colorado State Capitol

Last Thursday, April 2, was a beautiful, bright, warm day, in between spring snow storms in Denver. Students, teachers, parents, and supporters gathered to celebrate National Charter Schools Week, at a rally on the west steps of the Capitol. This rally was extra special, as this year marks the 15th year since the opening of the first charter school in Colorado.

I really enjoyed watching the students chant ("Charter Schools Matter") and cheer for their schools. It was wonderful to see the pride they feel about their own school and all charter schools.

We were treated to short talks by several legislators, voicing their support for the charter school moment, including Rep. Frank McNulty, Sen. Scott Renfroe, Sen. Mike Kopp, Rep. Cory Gardner, Rep. Amy Stephens, Rep. Ken Summers, Rep. Joe Rice, Rep. Kent Lambert, Sen. Chris Romer, Rep. Cindy Acree, Rep. Karen Middleton and Senate President Peter Groff.

The highlight of the event was the presentation of the essay contest winners and runners up by Lt. Governor Barbara O'Brien.

Additionally, Deborah Mintor, the Principal of Omar D. Blair Charter School in Montbello, spoke to the crowd and provided a sobering message regarding the funding crisis that all government is suffering, including charter schools. She told us that she had been told by DPS that their school needed to return $27.43 per student to the district, to be sent back to the state, to comply with a rescission approved by the legislature.

We also heard from Chris Behnke, a parent from Ridgeview Classical Schools in Fort Collins. Mrs. Behnke spoke with pride and gratitude about the way Ridgeview has helped her special needs child to succeed in school.

Many thanks to our wonderful friends at the Colorado League of Charter Schools for hosting this wonderful event.