Denver School Board Approves Freedom Elementary School Charter

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After the state ordered Denver Public Schools to reconsider a charter school centered on black students and culture, the school board on Thursday approved opening the school next fall.

But the approval comes with conditions, including that 5280 Freedom School must fill all of its open seats in its first year. The school plans to open with 52 students in kindergarten and first grade, and add grades each year through fifth grade.

Denver schools are funded per student, and other new charter schools have had to delay their openings because they did not enroll enough students. Existing charter schools have closed because enrollment has declined, and the district is considering closing some of its own schools due to low student numbers.

The school board initially rejected 5280 Freedom School for fear that it would struggle to attract enough students to be financially viable.

The 5280 Freedom School appealed the board’s denial. Last month, the State Board of Education ordered Denver to reconsider its decision. State Council members said it was unfair to assume that 5280 Freedom School would face the same challenges as other charters.

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