Granby charter school will not close | SkyHiNews.com

Granby charter school will not close

Indian Peaks teacher Tallie Gray poses with several Indian Peaks students in front of a painting of the Grand Lake area the students made at the school this year. The painting was part of a reading project delving into the history of Spirit Lake, also known as Grand Lake.

Last week Indian Peaks Charter School wrapped up its first year of operations after formally separating from the East Grand School District.

It was a roller coaster for the administration and staff at Indian Peaks, located in Granby, who worked to adjust to the new paradigm they entered after joining the Colorado Charter School Institute's non-geographic school district of charter schools. Enrollment figures for the first year of operation were not as high as administrators had hoped for, and in the past few weeks rumors that the school plans to close its doors have circulated around the community.

School officials earlier this week confirmed Indian Peaks plans to open next year and said funding for school operations has been secured.

"We definitely plan to open the school next year," said Director Allison Beauvais, seeking to address rumors of the schools closing. "Funding will come in starting in July."

Indian Peaks currently has enrollment letters of intent from 25 students, including an incoming class of five kindergartners and three part-time students, which are homeschooled students who will participate in the school's Friday expeditionary learning program.

Beauvais said the school is aiming to increase enrollment over the summer and is shooting for a baseline enrollment figure of 27.

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"Almost every week we have been getting one new student," said Beauvais. The school sets an annual goal of increasing enrollment figures by five students per year.

Still, enrollment figures and the budgetary realities created by enrollment figures, were the primary area of concern for both Beauvais and Indian Peaks School Board President Adria Stauffer.

"Enrollment is the biggest concern for me," said Stauffer. "And making sure our teachers aren't stretched too thin. With a higher enrollment we could expand our staff levels. I think it is important that our teachers have a work-life balance."

Stauffer stressed her belief that the current enrollment and staffing figures were not leading to diminished classroom results, as Indian Peaks maintains a maximum teacher-to-student ratio of one to 15.

"If we can get enrollment up our teachers and our director won't have to wear so many hats," said Stauffer.

The ideal enrollment figure for Indian Peaks, according to Beauvais, would be 35, with maximum capacity being 45 in the school's current facilities.

The school's funding for the upcoming school season, which includes state, local and federal funding, is set at about $258,000. Expenditures for the next school year are anticipated to total $249,000.

Grand County receives funds each year from the federal government that are provided to counties with high percentages of publicly owned land, which cannot be taxed by local governments. The county allocates the money to various entities in Grand County each year, including the East Grand School District.

Indian Peaks requested a portion of those funds from East Grand for this school year but, according to officials from the charter school, the request was denied. Beauvais said the school plans to lobby the county board of commissioners for a portion of the payments next year rather than making the request to East Grand, of which they are no longer a member.

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