Charter school idea dies

STEAM Academy pulls proposal

Keywords: Poll question,

The Mesa Verde Steam Academy Charter School proposal died Tuesday night at the Montezuma-Cortez School Board Re-1 meeting.

Some of the ideas brought forward by charter school founder Kay Phelps were embraced, but the board and Superintendent Alex Carter wanted these ideas to be part of the district through an Innovation School with a STEAM curricular focus.

The board also directed the administration to pursue an action plan to implement a STEAM curriculum.

Phelps and the other founders of the proposed charter school willingly decided to abandon forming a new school and informed Carter of this in a letter.

“Following the District Accountability Committee meeting this evening (Nov. 12), the Mesa Verde STEAM Academy founders agreed to withdraw their proposal for a charter with district Re-1 in good faith that the district will develop a magnet school and/or apply for an Innovation School with the Colorado Department of Education that has a STEAM/PBL curricular focus,” Phelps wrote.

She said the MVSA founders look forward to a partnership in this endeavor and share the district’s commitment to collaborate on behalf of all children.

Phelps said the board had two primary concerns with the charter school, believing it would siphon off the better students from Re-1 and decrease the per-pupil funding the district receives for every enrolled student.

Phelps said students would have been selected through a lottery, so the belief the school would have siphoned off the better students is not true.

She also said the proposed school would likely have attracted homeschooled students or ones who were going to leave the district anyway to attend schools in either Dolores or Mancos.

Phelps said if the district is going to pursue what the charter school was planning, it would be better to work with them.

“We don’t want to fade away, but if the district is going to pursue this...”

She said if the founders really wanted to move forward with a charter school through the state the charter would have been given, but added the school and its founders do not want to have an adversarial relationship with Re-1.

Phelps originally planned to present her plan to the Dolores School District if the Re-1 board rejected the proposal but conceded there is no real need for the STEAM academy to be linked with the Dolores School District.

The Re-1 School Board also:

Approved a resolution supporting local participation in the construction of the replacement of Montezuma-Cortez High School.

Approved a resolution authorizing the state of Colorado BEST site lease of the district, the state of Colorado BEST sublease of the district, a tax compliance certificate and other documents and any other actions related to this.

Authorized the issuance by Montezuma-Cortez School District Re-1 of a general obligation bond for the purposes approved at the district’s election on Nov. 6, authorizing the levy of property taxes to pay this bond, providing the form of the bond and other details in connection with this and approving other documents relating to the bond.

michaelm@cortezjournal.com