The I-News Network, a Colorado-based in-depth news consortium, and one of its partners, the nonprofit Education News Colorado, investigated what’s really happening with thousands of Colorado K-12 students who try an online school each year. This is part 2, part 1 can be found here.
Colorado taxpayers will spend $100 million this year on online schools that are largely failing their elementary and high school students, state education records and interviews with school officials show.
The money includes millions in tax dollars that are going to K-12 online schools for students who are no longer there.
Public schools nationwide are operating with less money. In Colorado, K-12 education took a $273 million dollar hit this budget year – and early forecasts indicate more cuts are likely next year. Many educators think that in the future, nonprofits and public-private partnerships will play a greater role in student achievement.
Colorado lawmakers are directing auditors to map out how they would assess the state’s online K-12 schools. Democratic Senate President Brandon Shaffer is expressing concerns over student failure rates at the schools.
Battle lines are being drawn over a ballot measure before voters this fall that would temporarily hike Colorado’s sales and income taxes to backfill millions of dollars in recent cuts to education. A group of former and current Colorado Republican lawmakers calling itself "Save Colorado Jobs" has now formed to fight the measure.