Letters to the editor

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There is still time

To our committed supporters,

Our board and steering committee recently made the painful decision to inform the more than 70 parents who are expecting to be able to enroll their children in our public Montessori charter school this fall that they would be wise to make other educational plans for their children for this year.

While we have labored long and hard to put all the key elements in place to open the school this fall (a facility ready to lease at CMC, an excellent staff eager to be hired, $182,000-plus in grant funding ready to be spent on classroom materials), we still lack the one thing that's required to make these other things possible -- a contract with the school district.

We have presented the School Board with a draft contract very similar to the one they painstakingly negotiated over a three-month period with the North Routt Charter School, along with a reasonable schedule for negotiations. We have heard nothing from them about starting negotiations.

All indications are that the School Board has no intention of negotiating a contract in time for Steamboat Springs Montessori charter school to successfully open this fall.

We hope this assessment is incorrect or, if it is correct, that the district will change its position.

There is still time to finish this process and open the school. But it takes two parties to negotiate a contract and one party -- the district -- has already delayed the simple act of approving the charter application for six weeks without the slightest credible reason for such a delay.

There are strong indications that even if the charter application is approved at or after the May 19 meeting, the district will either not negotiate at all or will negotiate in bad faith -- with the goal to making it impossible to open this fall.

We are ready, willing and able to negotiate a charter contract at any time. We intend to open the school as soon as is practical.

But it would be unfair to parents at this juncture to create or encourage false hopes.

We believe the district intends for this to become a fight.

We know a fight would delay the opening of the school beyond the fall of 2003.

We hope that you will now understand our suggestion that parents should plan for themselves and their children accordingly.

Jody Patten

on behalf of the Steamboat Springs Montessori Steering Committee and board

Thanks for the help

Many thanks to the volunteers who turned out to make Hayden Cleanup Day a success.

A huge thanks to Carol Burman and Patrick Zimmerman for the back-breaking help loading Dumpsters.

Thanks to Bill Hayden for the use of his parking lot and providing cookies for the volunteers.

The burn pit at M&J Storage was busy all day with 138 loads dropped. Thanks again, Joe and Mary Schminkey for the use of the site, and all your hard work along with Ed Russell and Chuck Grobe.

The streets around the town of Hayden look great, thanks to the following volunteers who made it happen: Girl Scout leader Shelly Pope, Laurie Laird, Neisha Pope and her daughter, Tiffany, Madison Kopsa, Rose Eberli and Parker Jones. Thanks to all, our town is now ready for spring.

Ginny Winn

Hayden

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