Supporters working to save the upper Montessori program next year are not asking that Montessori students receive preference at the expense of other students. It is fully understood that the budget as currently prioritized would require fifth-grade enrollment in traditional classrooms to exceed that which is considered to be in the best interest of students, and we do not want to see this happen. Instead, it is our hope that the district will continue to seek creative and innovative ways to address the fifth-grade crowding problem while still allowing the Montessori program to continue. The Montessori program is an attractive option to a very diverse segment of our population and has been highly successful as evidenced by the lower Montessori waiting list throughout each year of its existence. Parents everywhere value educational choice and want access to an educational system that best meets the individual needs of their child. More than a few Steamboat parents have children enrolled and thriving in both the traditional classrooms and the Montessori classrooms according to their child’s individual learning preferences. According to the American Montessori Society, there are more than 400 public schools nationwide that offer Montessori programs. Clearly, Montessori is a popular and increasingly mainstream educational option that school districts throughout the country are embracing, even in these extremely difficult economic times.