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Colorado teachers union leader reportedly rallied against charter school: ‘A further decrease in enrollment’

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The leader of a Colorado teachers union reportedly emailed staff encouraging them to provide their “thoughts” on whether the town should have another charter school, saying that it would mean less funding for their district.  

“Please note that if Ascent gets approved, it is anticipated to cause a further decrease in enrollment across our district. For those of you who don’t know, less students = less $$. Please think about signing up to speak at the forum and providing your thoughts on whether we need another charter in our small town,” the email, reportedly written by a Colorado teachers union leader and posted to Twitter by Corey DeAngelis, National Director of Research for School Choice Now, said.   

The decision on the potential opening of Ascent Classical Academy, a K-12 charter school in the Durango district will come on June 13, according to the Durango public schools’ website.    

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A teachers union leader allegedly emailed staff members at Durango Public schools, saying that it would affect enrollment and funding. 

A teachers union leader allegedly emailed staff members at Durango Public schools, saying that it would affect enrollment and funding. 
(iStock)

The Durango School District 9-R Board of Education issued a statement on the charter school’s application in March after Ascent had asked for an earlier application date, which Durango did not approve.  

Derec Shuler, executive director of Ascent Classical Academies, has argued that the district should accept the early application, according to the Durango Herald. He said that the school needs enough time to acquire land and search for staff. 

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A teachers union leader reportedly discouraged the potential opening of a private school in the Durango school district, saying they would get less funding. (Santiago Mejia/San Francisco Chronicle via AP, Pool, File)

A teachers union leader reportedly discouraged the potential opening of a private school in the Durango school district, saying they would get less funding. (Santiago Mejia/San Francisco Chronicle via AP, Pool, File)
(Santiago Mejia/San Francisco Chronicle via AP, Pool, File)

“To protect its constitutional right to local control and its lawful interest in an equitable and workable charter review process that is applied consistently to all potential charter schools, the District has asked the District Court for La Plata County to declare that the District is not required to review Ascent Classical’s charter application until August 1, 2022,” Kristin Smith, school board president, said in the March statement. 

The school board decided to move forward on a review of their application following a meeting on May 19, according to the website. 

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“It’s a tight timeline, but we are taking the time to set up extra public meetings,” Smith said on May 23. “We know that it’s important for community members to know what’s happening and have an opportunity to provide feedback. As a board, we agree that it’s integral for the public to have a voice.” 

The potential opening of the Ascent Classical Academy was reportedly discouraged by a teachers union leader. 

The potential opening of the Ascent Classical Academy was reportedly discouraged by a teachers union leader. 
(iStock)

“The ‘less students = less $$’ email inadvertently makes the case for school choice in at least two ways: the teachers union leader said the quiet part out loud – that they see kids merely as funding units – and they didn’t even get the grammar right,” DeAngelis told Fox News Digital.

“The district ultimately gets to decide whether the charter school will be approved,” he added. “That’s like McDonald’s getting to decide whether a new Chick-fil-A can open nearby, which is an obvious conflict of interest. The decision should be up to the parents, not the competition.”

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DeAngelis told Fox News in April that a new rule put forth by the Department of Education would make it more difficult for charter schools to obtain grants and funding.

“The Biden administration is essentially waging war on charter schools,” DeAngelis said. “But more importantly, the administration, through these regulations, is waging war on families who want these schools for their kids and that’s absolutely atrocious.” 

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