CDE consultant calls bus partnership ‘perfectly legal’ |

CDE consultant calls bus partnership ‘perfectly legal’

A Colorado Department of Education consultant says there’s nothing wrong or illegal about a busing partnership between Ross Montessori School and St. Stephen’s Catholic School. If the schools can find a bus driver, Ross Montessori in Carbondale plans to use its bus to transport students from both schools to their respective campuses within the next week or two, said Mark Grice, Ross Montessori head-of-school. Ross Montessori’s relatively young, 72-seat, icy-conditions-equipped bus will be the primary bus used in the partnership, with St. Stephen’s 1987-vintage 68-seater used as the backup bus. Operational costs will be split evenly between the two schools. Grice said last week the schools have to make sure that it’s clear that neither school is subsidizing the other and the line between church and state will be maintained. Such a partnership between a public charter school and a private parochial school is perfectly legal, said Brian Anderson, a state Department of Education charter school consultant, who had not seen the details of the schools’ partnership beyond what had been printed in a Post Independent story last week. “There’s nothing that prohibits any type of shared transportation arrangement,” Anderson said, calling it a business decision. “There’s nothing inherently illegal about what you explained to me.”It seems like a logical solution, actually,” Anderson said. Grice said the school is interviewing bus drivers this week, and he hopes to have the bus running within the next two and a half weeks. Once running, students in Glenwood Springs going to the Montessori school will have to be at the bus stop by 7:50 a.m. Montessori students in New Castle will have to be at the bus stop at about 7:15 a.m., he said. Grice said last week that St. Stephen’s students coming from El Jebel will be able to ride the bus with the Montessori students and be dropped off in Glenwood Springs. Montessori students coming from New Castle will be able to ride the St. Stephen’s bus to Glenwood Springs, then catch the Montessori bus, which will take them to Carbondale. St. Stephen’s Principal Tom Alby was excited about the new arrangement, saying that the bus should one day sport a sign on its side saying, “Ross Montessori and St. Stephen’s.””We’re getting closer and closer,” he said of the beginning of the bus service. Contact Bobby Magill: 945-8515, ext.

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