Committeeawaits fateof charter school
CARBONDALE – The future of Montessori education in Carbondale will be decided this month. The Ross Montessori School Steering Committee submitted its charter application to the Charter School Institute of Colorado in January, then went through an initial review with the organization on Feb. 25. Now, committee members are waiting until March 21 to hear whether the charter is accepted. Then they will wait until March 28 to hear if they’ll receive a grant from the Colorado Department of Education to fund technology, staff development, and a library. “It’s a huge month,” said Tami Cassetty, president of the steering committee. The steering committee met this week with teachers and parents in the Montessori strand at Carbondale Elementary School. The Roaring Fork School Board of Education voted to disband that strand at the end of this year. The parents and teachers were full of questions about plans for the new Montessori school. The biggest was school funding. If the Ross Montessori School receives its charter, it will automatically receive per-pupil funds from the state. Those funds are about $6,200 per student, Cassetty said. Charter schools, however, only receive 95 percent of the per-pupil fund. Those funds will let the school rent land and modular classrooms for the school, and pay 10 staff salaries, Cassetty said. The Steering Committee hopes the $450,000 grant from the CDE will come through on March 28, but if it doesn’t, “There are lots of other grants out there,” said steering committee spokeswoman Carolyn Fisher. The school is anticipating 160 kids, and it already has 144 letters of intent, Cassetty said. The state funding won’t rid the school of many challenges, though. The steering committee needs to figure out where it will prepare student lunches, how students will get to school, and negotiate a land lease. As it stands, the Steering Committee is negotiating for three sites, with the hope of getting one. All the sites are within of near Carbondale town limits, the committee said. Despite challenges, the steering committee is confident the school will open. “I’m really excited,” Cassetty said. “If we can get our charter I have every confidence we can pull it off.””I’m really excited,” Cassetty said. “If we can get our charter I have every confidence we can pull it off.”
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