Indian Peaks Charter School requests $400,000 to move from Granby to Tabernash | SkyHiNews.com

Indian Peaks Charter School requests $400,000 to move from Granby to Tabernash

by Will Bublitz

Sky-Hi Daily News

With the bond approved by voters in last month’s election for East Grand School District’s three major facilities projects, the district’s lone charter school is now asking for a share of the money.

At Tuesday’s East Grand School District Board of Education meeting, Indian Peaks Charter School asked for a portion of the bond’s premium to pay for relocation and upgrading its facility. The charter school’s facilities needs were not part of the district’s $18.25 million bond question approved in the Nov. 6 election.

The charter school, which has a total of 40 students or about 3 percent of the district’s enrollment, has been housed in two modular classrooms in Granby for the past couple of years. Prior to that, it had held classes in the old middle school building in Granby, which was demolished as part of the district’s facilities project approved under the 2004 bond election.

Tim Koepke, president of the charter school’s board of directors, presented the request at Tuesday’s meeting.

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Indian Peaks’ request is for $400,000 of the estimated $722,000 in bond premium money, which is expected to be earned by the district after the sale of the $18.25 million in bonds later this month.

About $220,000 of the requested $400,000, Koepke explained, would be used to purchase a 1-acre lot in Tabernash’s Pole Creek Valley subdivision for Indian Peaks Charter School’s new location. For about the past couple of years, the charter school has been wanting to relocated to that location but has lacked the funds to do so.

Koepke went on to explain that the remaining $180,000 of the request would be

used to pay for moving the charter school’s two modular classrooms from Granby to Tabernash. It would also pay for the construction on a permanent foundation/lower level for the facility with the modulars placed atop it.

In addition, the modulars would be remodeled to join them together and a permanent roof would be built over them.

This relocation and remodeling would “solve several problems” that the charter school currently has with the modulars, Koepke said. One of those problems is that only one of the two modulars has a restroom, which requires students from the other modular to walk outside and enter the other building to reach it.

Also, the modulars have no indoor lunchroom with students currently eating outside in a tent.

By constructing the permanent foundation/lower level for the modulars, Koepke said this would not only solve the lunchroom situation, but would more than double the charter school’s instructional area. Currently, the two modulars provide only 2,800 square feet of space for the charter school’s educational programs.

In addition to the $400,000, Koepke also recommended the district “set aside” another $50,000 as a contingency fund to cover any possible cost overruns or to meet HOA standards.

During the discussion of the request, some board members questioned Indian Peaks’ reasons for wanting to move to Tabernash instead of remaining in Granby on land already owned by the school district.

In response, the charter school’s Principal Polly Gallagher explained the charter school foresees the majority of its future enrollment growth coming from the Fraser Valley and Granby areas with Tabernash centrally located to serve both.

While not rejecting the request for the money, the school board, especially its three new members, indicated they needed more time to study the issue before making a decision.

To give those new board members some background on the issue, Koepke pointed out the charter school had originally requested to be part of the district’s bond question in the Nov. 6 election, but decided to drop out after discussing it with the board last summer. He said the understanding was that the charter school would bring back its request and seek bond premium money if the bond was approved.

After further discussion, including some impassioned comments by parents of charter school students, school board President Tom Sifers recommended that a special meeting be held between the East Grand Board of Education, Indian Peaks Charter School and other interested citizens to discuss the request for the bond premium money.

That special meeting is scheduled for Monday, Dec. 10, at 4:45 p.m. at the East Grand School District Office in Granby.

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