K-6 charter school signs 5-year lease for Whittier building, starting this fall

       The newest offering for public education on the Westside is called Mountain Song Community School.

On May 15, 2009, a week before the last day of Whittier as an elementary school, 108 balloons were released, one for each of its years. This fall, it will house a new K-6 charter school.
Westside Pioneer file photo

       It will open in August as a state-chartered K-6 school at the former Whittier site, 2904 W. Kiowa St.
       A lease to allow the operation was approved without debate by the District 11 Board of Education April 24.
       According to a previous interview with school leader Neah Douglas, students will be taught in the “Waldorf” style, which developed after World War I as a non- traditional approach that puts a high priority on nurturing children's imaginations and love of learning. In modern times, the Waldorf approach has come to include doing without computers in the younger grades.
       Since 2009, the Bijou School (an alternative high school) has used the school. But starting this fall, D-11 will make it part of a new set of alternative programs at Wasson High (which will close after this school year).
       Kris Odom, D-11 procurement director, told the board that the Mountain Song lease is for five years and will begin July 1. Bijou will have moved out by that time, she said.
       The lease will provide the district with an annual income of $97,500, she said.
       Under the agreement, either the school or the district could break the lease with 90 days notice, although the district would pay a penalty fee if it did so, and such could not in any case “disrupt the school year,” Odom said.
       The district will do general maintenance, but the school must pay for utilities, trash, snow removal, janitorial service, Internet, phone, pest control and grounds maintenance, she added.
       Any improvements to the interior or exterior, including landscaping or changing walls, will need district approval, she said.
       According to D-11 statistics, the building, which housed the Whittier Elementary School from 1901 to 2009, can hold a maximum of 225 students.

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