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Charter School Application Process

The Douglas County School District welcomes high quality charter school applications that will add to student and parent choice and increase the diversity of educational offerings in the District.

The first step in applying for a new charter is to fill out an Intent to Submit form. This form must be completed and returned to the Choice Programming Office by March 1 before 4:00 p.m. of each year. If March 1 falls on a weekend, the Intent to Submit form is due the Friday before March 1 by 4:00 pm. The full application is due in the Choice Programming Office no later than 4:00 p.m.on March 15 of each year. If March 15 falls on a weekend, the application is due the Friday before March 15 by 4:00 p.m. 

Click here for the Intent to Submit form.

DCSD uses a standard Colorado charter school application developed in association with the Schools of Choice Unit of the Colorado Department of Education and the National Assocation of Charter School Authorizers. The application is divided into 19 application components. The components appear in the application in the same order that they appear in the Colorado Revised Statutes (C.R.S. 22-30.5-106.1).  Click here to download the Standard Application Form and Rubric. 

It is important to remember that each of the application components may require upfront training and education to meet the quality standard expected by the state and DCSD. This means that a charter application should be original and targeted to meeting the needs of all DCSD students. Copying and pasting from Colorado statutes, other charter applications, or other non-original sources may result in a negative review of the application. The District strongly advises applicants to coordinate with the Colorado League of Charter Schools and the Schools of Choice Unit of CDE for training on the application components and process. Click here for more information on the Colorado League of Charter Schools.


Each component is divided into three sections: a Component Description, a Checklist for a Comprehensive Application, and Evaluation Criteria.

The Component Description is a narrative designed to give the applicant background information, reference to statute, and general explanation of the component.

The Checklist for a Comprehensive Application will be used by both the applicant and DCSD to monitor the completeness of the application.

The Evaluation Criteria provides DCSD with means of determining the quality of the application component, but may also be used by the applicant when targeting a high-quality school program. An Evaluation Rubric accompanies this document as Appendix B.

The required components of the application are as follows:

A - Executive Summary

B - Vision and Mission Statements

C - Goals, Objectives and Pupil Performance Standards

D - Evidence of Support

E - Educational Program

F - Plan for Evaluating Pupil Performance

G - Budget and Finance

H - Governance

I - Employees

J - Insurance Coverage

K - Parent and Community Involvement

L - Enrollment Policy

M - Transportation and Food Service

N - Facilities

O - Waivers

P - Student Discipline, Expulsion, or Suspension

Q - Serving Students with Special Needs

R - Dispute Resolution Process

S - School Management Contracts

Appendix A: Charter School Intent to Submit Form

Appendix B: Evaluation Rubric

While the standard application is divided into discrete sections, each section will necessarily relate to other sections. For example, projected student enrollment will affect budget and facilities; curriculum is not complete without consideration of assessment processes; governance and administration structure will affect staff evaluations. The completed application should tell a story that relates the application components into one comprehensive package. The vision and mission should be evident throughout the application, and all program elements and resource allocations should be in alignment with the proposed budget and school program. It is important to also consider that some unique school designs may not conform precisely to all components of the standard application. This fact should be acknowledged and detailed in the narrative, if applicable.

The Standard Application must be completed and returned to the Choice Programming office no later than March 15 before 4:00 p.m. If March 15 falls on a weekend, the Standard Application is due the Friday before the weekend by 4:00 pm. Please submit one electronic copy and one printed copy of the application, with tabs separating the sections. Upon receipt of the application, the District has 15 days in which to determine whether the application contains all the required content and is therefore complete. If the District determines that the application is incomplete, the applicant will have 15 days within which to supply the missing content. The District has 90 days from the date of filing to make a final determination on the application.

Click here to download the Standard Application Form. 

The companion to this standard application is the Charter School Application Flowchart which presents an outline of the charter school application process. The flowchart, along with more information about starting a charter school, can be found at Applicants should use this flowchart before, during and after the application process. For additional information about the charter application process, contact Tom McMillen, Director of Student and Parent Choice.