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Ascent Classical Academy Flatirons
Ascent Classical Academy Appeal

On Thursday, February 14, the Colorado State Board of Education denied Ascent Classical Academy appeal. Ascent was seeking to overturn Boulder Valley School District Board of Education's denial of their charter school application -- but the motion failed with a 3-3. vote.

BVSD believes this is a victory for our students and community.


BVSD is a leader in Choice
BVSD believes in providing our families with choice, so they can select educational options that best suit the needs and interests of the students. In fact, the school district is a leader in this area, offering nine choice schools and five charter schools. Plus, more than thirty percent of BVSD students attend school through open enrollment.

While there is a great diversity in educational options, including Montessori, STEAM, International Baccalaureate and Project Based Learning, to name a few, BVSD is interested in hearing how we might be able to better serve all families.

BVSD has held two input sessions, on February 7 and 11, to gather input from students and parents interested in that educational model.

“I have heard loud and clear that a portion of our community is looking for different options in their education. It is my belief that we can accomplish this without compromising our policies that protect our students.”
-Superintendent Rob Anderson



Voice of BVSD parents
The Boulder Valley School District believes that it is extremely important for BVSD parents and community members to have a voice in the operation of our schools. That is why each BVSD school has a School Accountability Committee, composed, largely of parents. Additionally, the Board of Education is made up of elected representatives from the community and has policies ensuring that all stakeholders have an opportunity to engage.

Similarly, the Charter Schools Act makes clear that “parents have a right and a responsibility to participate in the education institutions which serve them.” § 22-30.5-102(1)(b), C.R.S. (2018). The Charter Schools Act was enacted “to encourage parental and community involvement with public schools” and “to create a legitimate avenue for parents, teachers, and community members to implement new and innovative methods of educating children.”

BVSD has been concerned that the model that Ascent is proposing would not provide parents at Ascent Classical Academy Flatirons with sufficient influence over the governance of the school. The school is managed by Ascent Classical Academies (ACA) and the board meetings would likely be held in Golden, 30 miles from the district and the taxpayers who support the school. It would also be “self-replicating,” meaning that the board will select replacements for members who have completed terms – a model that does not promote public accountability.

Ascent dismissed Superintendent Anderson’s proposed condition for a parent-elected board to govern Ascent Classical Academy Flatirons and meet within BVSD boundaries. 

Its response was:

“As a network parents from a specific school within the Network can’t be guaranteed positions on the board.” and “it can be impossible to always hold board meetings in place convenient to every school.” 

In its latest brief to the State Board, Ascent explains that what it meant by “local board” is a “Colorado-based board.” Thus completely disenfranchising the BVSD community in which the school proposes to locate (and in which the BVSD taxpayers provide significant support via local mill levy funding).


The Values of our Community
The policies of the Boulder Valley School District Board of Education represent the voice of our community. Passed by elected representatives from our community --  with the feedback of our students, parents, employees and community members – they are a representation of our collective values.

From the beginning, Ascent has requested waivers from many of BVSD’s policies, without adequately explaining the need for the waiver or offering a satisfactory replacement.

For instance, BVSD’s nondiscrimination policy prohibits discrimination in educational programs and employment “based on a person's disability, race, color, national origin, ancestry, creed, religion, sex (which includes marital status), sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, need for special education services, or physical characteristics is a prohibited form of discrimination.”

Ascent would only commit to prohibit “unlawful discrimination under any School program or activity on the basis of any legally protected status, including disability, race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, ancestry, or need for special education services.” 

The commitment left out references to gender identity/expression or physical characteristics. These protections go beyond the sort of prohibitions against discrimination and harassment that the law requires. These protections, however, represent a standard for the Boulder Valley community. 

Ascent says that they wish to be a member of the Boulder Valley community. In order to be a member of the Boulder Valley education community, BVSD believes Ascent should meet the school district's standards, ensuring that all students, employees and families of the Boulder Valley school community are equally welcome and protected in all BVSD schools.
Timeline

February 14, 2019
State Board of Education appeal hearing
Colorado Board of Education denied Ascent charter school appeal with a vote of 3-3.



January 22, 2019
Regular Board of Education Meeting
Superintendent Anderson recommends denial
Board of Education votes 5-2 to deny application

BVSD Superintendent Recommendation
 



January 15, 2019
Special Board of Education Meeting
Ascent Classical Academy Flatirons Question and Answer Session

Ascent Classical Academy FlatironsResponse to Boulder Valley School District Questions




January 8, 2019
Regular Board of Education Meeting
Ascent Classical Academy Flatirons Charter Application - Study Item. Superintendent recommends conditional approval of Ascent






November 15, 2018
State Board of Education ordered BVSD to review the charter application in November 



September 25, 2018
BVSD Board of Education declined to review their application, because its application was incomplete



August 15, 2018
Ascent notified application was incomplete


August 1, 2018
Ascent Flatirons applied to open a school in eastern Boulder County in August