School's future at issue

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The Moffat County School District board is expected to make a decision regarding the fate of Dinosaur Community Charter School during a special meeting Thursday.

Superintendent Pete Berg--mann said Tuesday that he anticipated the board would take action Thursday -- by giving the school the go-ahead on its compliance report or by revoking its charter.

The board has a contract with the Dinosaur school, which includes standards set by the state.

The board meets at 4 p.m. Thursday in the boardroom in the district's administration building, 775 Yampa Ave. The board will adjourn to executive session to discuss with legal counsel the school's compliance.

The board is scheduled to reconvene in open session at 5:30 p.m. to rule on the contract.

"We're looking at all the options available," Bergmann said. "We will always look out for the best interest of the students."

Sarah Wagner, a parent of a Dinosaur student, former Dinosaur School Board member and current school office manager, said Tuesday that she and several other Dinosaur residents plan to attend Thursday's meeting to encourage the board to keep the school open.

The school, which serves students in kindergarten through seventh grade, originally was operated by the Moffat County School District, but was closed because of lack of compliance.

Bergmann said operating a school 90 miles from Craig was expensive and logistically difficult and that the school was unable to offer adequate special-education services, both of which were compliance issues.

The school was closed for one year before opening two years ago under a charter.

In November 2005, the school was not in compliance with the contract, Bergmann said.

"Since that time, there's been a lot of work towards that compliance," he said.

The school applied for a state charter through Charter School Institute in hopes of staying open under a different entity. The state granted the school approval on condition that the school meet compliance standards.

The school recently found out it did not get approval, and now its fate is back in Moffat County School Board's hands.

"We think it's important to make that decision in a timely fashion," Bergmann said. "In every rural school setting, you have ever-changing circumstances that affect decisions."

Wagner said the school had 12 students its first year as a charter school. It started the 2005-06 year with 51 students and closed with 35. She said the drop in enrollment is because of students moving away or switching schools.

She said the student body includes youths from Rangely and Vernal, Utah, many of whom have said they plan to return in the fall.

Bergmann said the board will consider the school's improvements in its decision and will look at the compliance contract when making its decision.

"The board has always been receptive to Dinosaur having a choice for Dinosaur students," Bergmann said. "As long as Dinosaur is able to provide a high-quality education, as per the contract, this board of education is in support of Dinosaur Community Charter School."

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