Steamboat Springs A group of Routt County residents are joining forces in the wake of a north Routt charter school application to discuss additional alternative education options for middle- and high-school students.
"People are coming forward to find something for kids who are not doing their best in a traditional setting," said Steamboat Springs resident Debbie Young.
Perhaps due to the privacy of current north Routt charter school discussions with the RE-2 School Board, parents and residents involved in the new initiative are not yet wiling to go public, Young said.
Young has agreed to help the group because she has worked extensively with charter schools on the Front Range, she said.
"The group wants to proceed in the same format as the north Routt group did, I think," Young said. "We want to get some people from the home-school network, from the charter committee and from focus schools to get in touch."
The north Routt charter school application already in the works has been proposed, at least initially, for kindergarten through fifth-grade students. The new group is made up of parents who want choices for their older children as well.
RE-2 School Board President Dan Birch was not available for comment, but school board member Matt Hermes said any local interest in additional charter schools is news to him.
"In 1999, the (Colorado) Board of Education passed a series of laws regarding these schools. There are 40 pages of guidelines and 20 pages of legislation. It would be advisable for these people if they followed these guidelines and became completely familiar with the legislation," Hermes said.
Mike Swinsick, a member of a group calling itself the North Routt Community School Board, agreed with Hermes.
"I'd tell them to do their homework," he said, adding that he hasn't heard anything about interest in additional alternatives to the public schools. "It's a continual process. There's a lot of homework.
According to Young, the new group is ready and wiling to do that work.
"Parents need to get together to discuss options for kids who aren't doing well. Granted, it's a minority of kids, but still, we should have something for them," Young said. "I think that charter school applications are due in by Oct. 1, but I don't know if they're looking at this year or next year."
Superintendent Cyndy Simms said she has not heard of the group either.
"We'd have to sit down and talk to each other," Simms said. "There are certainly different student needs that we have ways of addressing. We want to be proactive and help people to see what we can do to meet the needs of their children."
The mysterious group of concerned parents and residents had planned to meet earlier this week, but the Tuesday night meeting was canceled due to logistical problems. Notice of a make-up meeting is expected to be posted in the newspaper.