From Darkness To Light

18 May 2022

State Board of Education directs Durango 9-R School Board to review Ascent Classical Academy’s charter application

Posted by Adam Howell

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The Colorado State Board of Education chided the Durango School District 9-R Board of Education for not cooperating with a charter school application process.

State Board of Education directed Durango School District 9-R to review Ascent Classical Academy's application.

A table set up outside of Wal Mart where someone was educating the public about Ascent Classical Academy.

Vice Chair Steve Durham, of the State Board of Education, said that he noticed a pattern.

“I really think that this is typical of what we see out of the Durango School District. Rather than working cooperatively and in good will with people, that board goes out of its way not to.”

Durango School District 9-R had ignored Ascent Classical Academy of Durango’s application because they said that it created an administrative burden.

Ascent Classical submitted the appeal to the State Board of Education in March following the Durango school district board’s refusal to review Ascent Classical’s charter application.

In a 4-3 vote in favor of granting Ascent Classical Academy of Durango’s appeal, they directed the Durango School District 9-R Board to review the school’s charter application within 30 days of the Thursday, May 12th meeting.

Joyce Rankin, the State Board of Education member for the Third Congressional District, which includes the city of Durango, motioned the board to grant the appeal, “on the basis that the local board’s action is contrary to the best interests of the pupils, school district, or community.”

Although Ascent Classical submitted its application according to the Durango school district’s charter policy that requires applications be submitted “on or before August 1,” the district claimed it is prohibited from accepting an application before August 1.

Specifically, to review Ascent’s application before August 1 would be a violation of state statute, said Jon Fero, District 9-R’s attorney.

State Board of Education Vice Chair Steve Durham responded to Fero by saying that District 9-R is violating its own policy on reviewing charter school applications.

“It seems to me, as I’ve been sitting here for almost 8 years now. Most applications that are considered seem to be submitted before that date (Aug. 1). I’ve never heard this issue. I’ve never heard that objected by anyone,” said Durham.

The State Board of Education order affirms the school’s application submission meets statutory requirements and was filed in accordance with the school district policy.

Parents of more than 600 local students have submitted an expression of interest, demonstrating a great demand for this tuition-free, K-12 classical charter school, according to Ascent Classical Academies.

“The Durango community has shown overwhelming support in our efforts to bring a high-quality classical education to their children,” said Kim Gilmartin, director of new school development and outreach for Ascent Classical Academies. “We remain hopeful the district will drop its legal actions against Ascent Classical and work with us to complete a fair review to ensure a strong opening for children in the Durango community.”

Ascent Classical Academy of Durango plans to open in the fall of 2023. To learn more about Ascent Classical Academy, visit their website at 4:44:56

Adam Howell is a writer who believes in free press and the importance of the constitution. He can be reached by clicking on this link to the contact page.

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2 Responses to “State Board of Education directs Durango 9-R School Board to review Ascent Classical Academy’s charter application”

  1. Now is the time; Ascent Classical Academy supporters need to unite, write letters, and show up to any public meetings that we can! Publicly-funded, privately-operated charter schools give families the freedom to choose a school that is in the best interest of their children. Supporting Ascent does not mean that you have to send your children there, but it does mean that you support other community members in their right to choose. According to a June 2021 poll from RealClear Opinion Research (polling more than 1762 registered voters) a majority support school choice; 74% vs. 16% opposed, while 10% are unsure. Ascent will be providing an alternative for educators, families, and community members who are dissatisfied with educational quality and school district bureaucracy at their traditional schools. Hundreds of expressions of interest, 611 as of 5/21/22, have been filled out and the answer is clear for all to see. Freedom of choice wins every day and the community wants this school to open!


    Kristin Dallison

  2. I agree with the State Board of Education.



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