A Contract School

Colorado is a School-Choice State

According to State law, parents have a statutory right of educational choice to  public schools (including charter, independent, and contract) that are meant to:

  *  Expand learning opportunities for all students

  *  Encourage diverse approaches to learning through the use of different, innovative, research-based, or proven teaching methods

  *  Provide parents/guardians and students with expanded choices in the types of educational opportunities that are available within the public school system

  *  Encourage parental and community involvement with public schools

Many people in our community believe that the addition of a public school choice will further strengthen educational opportunities for the students in the Teller County/Ute Pass area. This is particularly so with Merit Academy, a classical, parent- and community-led public school.  

Family educational preference and community-led educational options are cornerstones of school choice.


While we hear the need and desire to open with high school grades in place, many of our experts advised that we open K-8, growing to K-12 as our 8th graders advance in grades. However, we also see a need for those parents who originally desired their freshmen and sophomores to attend Merit Academy. In that, we are offering a learning lab for 9th and 10th graders, designed with educator tutoring, mentoring, and teaching. These students can also engage in our Enhancements during the afternoon and in the school-wide House system. If you are interested in learning more, please contact us or see the Homeschool Enrichment page.

The path to launch as a contract school was clear.

With tremendous community support and parental desire for Merit Academy to launch this fall, experts came together and followed the path for Merit Academy to become a public BOCES (Board of Cooperative Educational Services) contract school, authorized by Education reEnvisioned BOCES (ER BOCES).  

Using a thorough review and approval process found in charter school authorizing practices in many  districts throughout the state, Merit Academy applied with ER BOCES for approval as an ER BOCES contract school. ER BOCES incorporated expert reviewers in their application process. These appraisers agreed with the original charter reviewers and unanimously advised to approve Merit Academy as a contract school. Every expert who reviewed Merit's application from October through April found the school's plan and vision to be viable and successful, especially given the incredible community support and need. With that expert guidance, the ER BOCES Board of Directors approved Merit Academy, 5-0.

The Way Forward

Merit Academy is contracted as an ER BOCES public school. The operations, decisions, and management are responsibilities of the Merit Academy nonprofit board and staff, which are not government entities. The Merit Academy team reports to ER BOCES regarding the goals, performance, current, and future state of the school. The school follows educational State standards, requirements, and ER BOCES expectations. The primary funding-source is per-pupil-revenue, which comes primarily from property taxes and state taxes. This is true for all public schools.


The Merit Academy Board of Directors are led by the founding members (who are all local Merit parents), as well as parent-elected representatives and local community member(s).  

This has been a grassroots effort from the very beginning. From the unbelievable numbers of Intent to Enrolls to the local hidden and expressed supports, it was clear that Merit Academy (as designed and governed by our parents, community members, and experts) is a perfect addition to local educational offerings.