Montessori money?
Parents help guide quest at Buena Vista

       Despite funding issues, a Montessori program for Buena Vista Elementary School is moving forward.
        According to Principal Alan Rasmussen, more than 40 lower-elementary (ages 6-9) students, both in and out of the attendance area, have already registered for the Montessori program, with preschool/kindergarten (ages 3-6) registration not starting until Apri 9.
       A maximum of 90 students in three classes - two preschool/kindergarten and one lower elementary - has been tentatively set.
       No money has yet been secured for the program, but a group of parents is determined to make it happen. They helped the school write a $2.2 million grant application, which, if accepted, would cover the first three years under a federal program for magnet schools; they also helped write two smaller grant applications to private Colorado foundations. Rasmussen said the school will have to wait until July 1 to find out if the federal grant has been accepted.
        He is also considering applying to District 11 for start-up assistance. The Board of Education approved the program in January with the concept that no district money would be used.
       Lynne Casebeer, a parent leader who hopes to enroll two students in Buena Vista Montessori, said that even if these funding sources fall through, the program will still continue.
       If worst came to worst, she said, tuition and fund-raising efforts could raise enough money to start at least one Montessori preschool/kindergarten class this fall. Assuming signups exceed openings at that time, priority would have to be given to students in the attendance area. If there were still more applicants than openings, possibly a lottery would have to be used to determine the students who would get in, she said. Meanwhile, fund-raising and grant applying would continue until a fuller level of implementation could be achieved.
       “We are all so committed,” Casebeer said. “Buena Vista Montessori School has to start. I just get so reenergized the more I visit traditional kindergartens, because I know this is the right choice.”
       Along with fund-raising, Casebeer and other parents are working at what they term “community education” about Buena Vista Montessori. They will man a booth explaining the planned program at an education fair Saturday, April 3 at the Southern Colorado Expo building (the old Denver Furniture Warehouse) on Union Boulevard south of Constitution Boulevard.

Westside Pioneer article