Charter school hires teacher |

Charter school hires teacher

Edie Jansen will provide special education instruction

Christina M. Currie

Dinosaur Community Charter School officials are taking steps to eliminate a situation in which they could have lost their charter school status.

They have contracted with Edie Jansen to provide special education services one to two days a week.

The Moffat County School District Board of Education found in October that the DCCS was in violation of its charter school contract by not having someone on staff who could identify and provide services to students with special needs.

Board members agreed not to close the charter school mid-year, saying they would re-evaluate the situation when deciding whether to renew the contract next year.

“They’re having the same difficulties in running a school in Dinosaur that we had,” Assistant Superintendent Joel Sheridan said in October.

Since then, the school has contracted with Jansen, who was on hiatus from the Rangely school district where she directed the district’s special education program for students in the upper grade levels.

“She was almost under our noses,” DCCS Principal Dana Forbes said.

Jansen quit the Rangely school district to have children, he said.

The move puts the school in better standing.

“That was the critical component,” Forbes said.

“That was the big void in terms of their services,” Sheridan said Monday.

Moffat County school officials also were concerned about the charter school’s ability to pay a special education specialist when officials found one.

Sheridan said he thought the Dinosaur Community Charter School budget just about covered personnel.

Forbes confirmed that finances were tight.

“We’re pretty strapped beyond personnel,” he said.

DCCS officials lost out on the first round of grants they were counting on and are hopeful the will see more success in the second round.

The school has applied for a Walton Foundation grant, which could be as much as $180,000.

“That would be pretty significant for our needs,” Forbes said.

They also are hoping for a Colorado Department of Education grant of $80,000.

The Walton grant decision should be known by February and CDE by spring.

Forbes said losing out on the first round of grants was a matter of learning the system and getting the correct paperwork together.

“By not getting the grants in the first cycle probably moves us back a month or two,” Forbes said.

“It’s an inconvenience, but not too bad.”

The Dinosaur school employees two full-time teachers, including Forbes and a secretary. They still are working to get a child psychologist, speech pathologist and an occupational therapist, who would work on an as-needed basis.

Forbes said he still is following leads in getting those positions filled, and, in one case, working to get a Utah-based occupational therapist certified to work in Colorado.

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