Vail Valley: Stone Creek owes thousands to contractors
Vail, CO Colorado
VAIL, Colorado – As Stone Creek Charter School begins its fourth year in Avon, some of the contractors who helped build the school in Colorado’s Vail Valley and its infrastructure are wondering if they’ll ever get paid.
The school has had lower enrollment numbers that its board members expected since it opened, said board member Ron Wolfe.
And because the state gives the school money based on those numbers, the school is consistently under-funded, he said.
“I can’t say how many times we thank these people for what they’ve done and we regret the situation,” Wolfe said. “We are slowly, but surely, paying off the people we owe.”
Parents of students at the school are also asked for a voluntary $995 contribution every year, but many parents don’t pay, Wolfe said.
People like Ted Johnson, owner of Edwards Excavating, and Patrick Bourke, of Elam Construction, are left to wonder when they’ll get the money owed to them.
“They owe me $120,000,” Johnson said. “It hurt a lot a couple of years ago, but this year it really hurt.”
Johnson and Bourke spent money on materials and on paying their employees and have been waiting to get paid ever since. The school has made small payments to both of them, but it’s not nearly enough, Bourke said.
“About six months or a year later we started getting $100-a-month payments,” Bourke said. “About a year ago we got one $500 payment and I’ve never seen (any payments) since.”
Bourke said the school owes him about $40,000, but when he tries to reach someone to find out where his money is, he just gets the run-around. Bourke has hired an attorney to help sort it out.
Russell Molina, a Stone Creek board member, said that until the Oct. 1 enrollment count, the school’s board had no idea what kind of money it would have for payments. Now that the school knows how many students it has and how much money it’s receiving from the state, the board can talk about paying these contractors back, Molina said.
Molina said the board plans to come up with a payment plan at its meeting Tuesday.
“Now we can do real numbers,” he said.
Molina said some board members do have problems with some school fundraising money going toward things like playgrounds and school equipment when there’s debts that need to be paid.
The school had its annual jog-a-thon fundraiser Wednesday, but Wolfe said that event was sponsored by the Parent Teacher Organization, meaning the funds belong to that group, not the school.
Wolfe said the contractors will get paid, it’s just not happening as timely as everyone would have liked, he said.
The school’s board is also trying to negotiate its land lease with the town of Avon and the Traer Creek developers and avoid having to move, which would also cost the school a ton of money, said Wolfe , who is the mayor of Avon.
“We just don’t have a solution yet,” Wolfe said.
Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or firstname.lastname@example.org