Vail Valley’s Stone Creek Charter: The little school that could
EDWARDS, Colorado – The little school that could still can.
Stone Creek Charter School raised money and cut expenses, and will be just fine. Thanks very much for asking, and lots of people have been.
The local independent charter school’s board of directors sent word earlier this week that they’ve managed to offset a $450,000 funding shortfall.
“Contributions from the PTO, parents, the Stone Creek Educational Fund and some higher than expected grant funding from the state on the income side all came together to show a positive cash flow to the end of the school year,” they said.
Stone Creek is separate from the Eagle County school district, and doesn’t have the option of asking taxpayers for more money.
Lots of people have some skin in this game and fundraising has taken some creative curves. Aside from the traditional methods, kids have been working at local restaurants for fundraisers, doing jog-a-thons and selling cookie dough.
For now, plans are for the school to move back to Avon as part of the settlement between the town and Traer Creek.
But the legal system’s wheels sometimes turn slowly, so Stone Creek signed an agreement with Gracious Savior Lutheran Church to keep its kindergarten through third grades there for up to five years, if necessary. Grades 4-8 are at the Edwards Interfaith Chapel and community center nearby.
Stone Creek’s student population fell from more than 200 to around 140, stemming from the move from Avon to its two campuses in Edwards.
“We started the school year by a very significant drop over concerns by parents about the school being split into two campuses,” Wolfe said.
Most of Stone Creek’s budget comes from the state’s education funding, and that was reduced last year.
The state has reduced the amount of money they provide for public schools.
“There’s not a school in the state that isn’t struggling with exactly this sort of thing,” Wolfe said.
So, Stone Creek started raising money in the community, parents came up with some money, some grants came in higher than expected and the kids got involved. Local restaurants invited them in for some fundraisers.
The Edwards Interfaith Chapel made a generous reduction in rent, the school cut some staff and before you can say whatever it is a well-educated kid says, they made it.
“The whole thing cash flows,” Wolfe says.
Stone Creek parents are helping teach art, phys. ed. and music, and doing anything else they can think of.
“We’re striving to be what we are, a small, nurturing school that allows students to advance as fast as they can,” Wolfe said.
In the meantime, Stone Creek keeps fundraising. They’ll use the money to restore some programs that fell to budget cuts.
“An improved overall financial position helps in recruiting new students, which is our largest revenue source and ensuring our continuing operation moving forward,” the board said.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.