May 23, 2007 Edition

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IACS charter in danger

Last Monday, though members of the State Board of Education had high praise for the Imboden Area Charter School's efforts in meeting students' needs and for academic progress, they voted to begin procedures that could result in revocation of the school's charter.

Judy Warren, the school's director, summarized the school's financial status for the board saying, "Originally, school organizers developed a plan and facilities to accommodate 60 students. We currently have 62 enrolled, which generates adequate revenue to cover expenses."

"There have been times when enrollment was lower, and operating revenue was less than expenses. It was during this time that the school obtained a bank loan, which is the major issue with the State Board of Education," Warren added.

The Department of Education's attorney said charter schools can attain loans if they have prior approval from the board. Warren was not aware of this requirement when the loan was arranged.

IACS will have an opportunity to present plans to the board addressing the school's financial challenges. Since enrollment is adequate, the challenge is to raise funds to cover the shortfall in previous years, which amounts to $51,000.

"Within 15 minutes of the State Board meeting, we were contacted by two Charter School supporters asking how they could help," Warren said.

Parents of IACS students have a vested interest in seeing the small school survive and have already begun work on raising the necessary funds.

"I love seeing my child happy and enjoying school again," one parent said. "I love how the kids can be different, but still feel like they belong."

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