Charter school application filed

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The Carlton Academy Founding Board filed an application with the Englewood School District on Aug. 1 seeking school-board approval to open a facility in the city in August 2014.

“The application met the school board deadline of Aug. 1,” said Brian Ewert, school superintendent. “A quick evaluation indicates they met all the requirements to submit the application to establish a charter school in Englewood.”

He said the application will be evaluated internally, as well as by a trio of charter school application experts and by the school accountability board.

“We also will have two public meetings, plus the board will meet with the charter school board,” the superintendent said. “State law requires the board must hand down a decision whether to accept or reject the application not later than Oct. 29.”

He said the public hearing dates haven’t been set, but he expect one will be in late September and one in early October.

This marks the second year in a row an application to establish a charter school in Englewood has been submitted. The board rejected last year’s application as insufficient in a number of areas.

A number of the same proponents are on the board of directors that submitted this year’s application.

“We have been working on this application since January,” said Matt Whipple, founding board president. “We went through a lengthy process, plus we worked closely with the Colorado League of Charter Schools to develop this application. I think it was three times we submitted the application to the league for review, got their feedback, addressed their concerns and resubmitted it. The result is a superior application that has been reviewed and approved by charter school experts.”

He said the new application includes an improved budget and suggests three possible locations for the school, plus the detailed technical information and specific facts provide a better picture of what the school would look like once it is up and running.

The three locations being considered for the charter school are the former church property east of Clarkson Street at U.S. Highway 285, the former Funtastic Fun indoor amusement park at Broadway and Dartmouth — a site also being eyed as a possible location for a Chick-fil-A restaurant — and a long-vacant, two-story office building on Hampden Avenue near Logan.

The application requests permission to open the school’s doors in August 2014, offering classes for kindergartners through eighth-graders. The opening enrollment is forecast to be 200 with enrollment increasing to 420 in five years.

The academy focus is to be a Core Knowledge charter school that creates a learning environment where the students are empowered to succeed.

Former Englewood teacher Mary Zachariah headed last year’s effort to establish a charter school in Englewood. She states her reason was to develop an alternative for students who do not learn in the traditional setting and to offer educational choices to the parents of local students.

“I feel good about the quality of our new application,” Whipple said. “We feel it addresses the concerns and reasons the application was denied last year. It is our hope that we can work together in concert with the school board and the school district so we can establish this charter school that will be able to meet the needs of local children who just don’t do well in public school.”