School board holds off on charter funding | VailDaily.com
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School board holds off on charter funding

Matt Terrell
Vail CO, Colorado
Kristin Anderson/Vail DailySchool board member Brian Nolan talks Monday during the end of an Eagle County School District Board of Education meeting in Eagle.
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EAGLE ” The room was packed, just as it was at the last school board meeting.

Parents were going over their notes, gearing up to speak their minds about the Eagle County Charter Academy.

But then came the announcement at the beginning of Monday’s school board meeting: the Charter Academy won’t be getting $2.5 million for a new community building, at least not now.

Instead, the school board will take a wait-and-see approach. Until the district knows how much the construction costs will be for the projects approved in the last elections bond issue will be, it won’t consider funding a community building at the Charter Academy, the board decided. The topic won’t come up again at a board meeting until March 2008.

The board officially reversed its Sept. 26 vote, which had approved $2.5 million for the Charter Academy.

School board president Scott Green said it would be irresponsible to allocate funds for new projects before they know how much current construction will end up costing.

“There are just too many factors now to make a decision,” Green said. “We need more information.”

The decision puts an end, at least temporarily, to a heated and contentious community debate.

Charter Academy leaders have long said they need a new common building to safely hold school assemblies. The 288 students at the Charter Academy regularly meet in the cramped “Hawk Room” for school assemblies.

This room, however, was only designed to hold half that many kids, and school leaders are worried about safety when squeezing more than 300 people at times into the room. When that happens, the school isn’t meeting fire safety codes, says the school district.

The board first approved funding for the Charter Academy in September with a close 4-3 vote.

Board members who voted against the funding “Scott Green, Andy Arnold and Jason Benderly ” said then that the district should wait to see how much Red Canyon High School, June Creek Elementary and the new Battle Mountain High School will end up costing before approving funding for the charter school.

The Sept. 26 decision wasn’t popular with several parents who said there were better uses for that kind of money.

More pay for teachers, grants, fire exits at other schools and turf at the new Battle Mountain High School stadium are just a few of the things parents said should be prioritized over the charter school.

Parents also questioned the legality of the decision and said the school board hadn’t properly publicized that it was going to vote on the charter school funding.

Staff Writer Matt Terrell can be reached at 748-2955 or mterrell@vaildaily.com.


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