School board to evaluate new charter

Dinosaur school discussion on Thursday's agenda

Local school board members will soon weigh in on the progress some Dinosaur residents are making to start up a charter school in the fall.

The issue is one in a long lineup of topics that will come before Moffat County's School District Board of Education Thursday evening.

Board members approved Dinosaur's charter school application last December. But that decision was based on members of Dinosaur Steering Committee members providing proof that students from Dinosaur would attend the startup school.

Richard Blakley, a Dinosaur charter school coordinator, said he's collected about a dozen letters of intent from Dinosaur residents who plan to send their children to the school.

"I've been getting mixed reactions," he said. "A lot of people are wondering why they have to commit so early."

School district officials say they need solid enrollment figures to help plan a budget for the charter school.

Charter schools receive 95 percent of district funding. The district receives $5,511 per student.

Superintendent Pete Berg-mann said he hoped to see at least 20 interested students commit to attending the charter school. Fewer commitments make it more difficult to develop budget projections, he said.

"If (charter school committee members) are short of numbers, I want the school board to consider amending the resolution to the process," Bergmann said.

School board officials are entering the first stages of the district budget process, which should be approved by late July.

Balancing the budget depends in part on costs that will go toward charter school operations.

About 20 students attended Dinosaur School when it closed in 2002 because of lack of enrollment, Blakley said.

Students in Dinosaur commute 60 miles roundtrip to Rangely to attend school.

Attorneys of Colorado's League of Charter Schools working for the Dinosaur charter school pushed for a date later for steering committee members to produce enrollment commitments, Blakley said.

He agreed it's difficult to get parents to sign on the charter school concept months before the new school year.

"I think the last thing that parents want to think about at this time of the year is enrolling kids in school," he said.

Other agenda items at Thursday's meeting include:

  • A 6:30 p.m. "Let's Listen" session open for public comment with the regular board meeting to follow.
  • A presentation by Pres Askew of the Boys and Girls Club of Craig.
  • Adoption of a district math and social studies curriculum.
  • Adoption of school calendars.
  • Discussion of the School Board retreat.

Amy Hatten can be reached at 824-7031 or ahatten@craigdailypress.com.

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