Board to draft Montessori ballot question

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— The Steamboat Springs School Board plans to draft a ballot question tonight regarding the Montessori charter school issue.

Board President Paul Fisher said board members will come up with the language of the question at tonight's board meeting, which is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. at the George P. Sauer Human Services Center.

The intent of the question, which will be placed on the November ballot, is to determine whether the majority of the community supports the way the School Board has handled the controversial Montessori issue.

The School Board twice denied the charter school application of Steamboat Springs Montessori, a group of parents who want an alternative public school for area children. The State Board of Education ordered the application be approved, but the School Board, citing an unfunded mandate law, has refused to do so. Steamboat Springs Montessori filed a lawsuit in Denver District Court against the district and its board. The two sides have filed motions concerning where the appropriate venue for any court action is, and that decision is expected soon from a Denver judge.

The ballot question must be completed tonight in order to meet an election deadline, Fisher said.

Also on tonight's agenda, the School Board will vote to accept a gift of $49,000 from the Education Fund Board.

The gift is intended to help the district pay for salaries associated with the district's move to smaller class sizes over the years.

The gift also is an attempt to help reduce the impact of the district's recent budget cuts.

The School Board also is scheduled to approve a number of new hires and resignations, including the resignations of high school math teacher Lee Cox, speech-language pathologist Amy Kokesh, life skills teacher Leanne Lovin and paraprofessionals Jill Burnett and Emily Theis.

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