Group supports charter school in Estes Park

On Friday, Oct. 21, Estes Park School District Superintendent Ruby Bode received an application submission from Loveland Classical Schools – a tuition-free K-12 classical and Core Knowledge public charter school – to open a campus serving students in the Estes Park School District(R-3) beginning in the Fall, 2024.

This submission comes as the result of an invitation sent by a coalition of Estes Park families and businesses to the Larimer County-based Loveland Classical Schools to submit a Charter Replication Application to the Estes Park School District.

The list of Estes Park residents who extended this invitation is as follows:

Dana Maxwell, Peter Maxwell, Ross Maxwell, Deborah Maxwell, Jessie Layton, Leah Layton, Jeff Bergan, Patricia Bergan, James Docter, Eunice Docter, Ben Ferguson, Julie Furguson, Jim Morse, Sally Morse, Kyle Forbes, Dana Forbes, Jay Jacobsmeyer, Joyce Jacobsmeyer, Pastor Aaron Dorman, Amy Dorman, Michelle Hurni, George Hurni, Pastor Bruce Finger, Becky Finger, Pastor Aaron Bojan, Gerald Darmafall, Rebecca Darmafall, Alyssa Bergman, Thomas Bergman, Valerie Dascili, Bud Duryea, Mary Duryea, Bill Johnson, Chris Johnson, Darin Rodriguez, Roger Rodriguez, Steve Ferrante, Lorna Ferrante, Chris O’Brien, Paula O’Brien, Bonnie Schlank, Ron Schlan, Steve LaMont, Cornelius Casey, Marianne Casey, William Casey, Colleen Casey, John Shirley, Reen Shirley, Frank Wilkerson, Brenda Wilkerson, Chris Moody, Kathy Moody, Rachelle Wright, Cody Wright, Calvin Jones, Teresa Jones, Emily Gordon, Steve Gordon, Forrest Jones, Carissa Jones, Mike Caldwell, Terry Caldwell, Karen Nicholson, Blake Nicholson, Patrick Commerford , Teresa Commerford, Christopher Thomas, Aracely Thomas, Carissa Streib McGill, Josh McGill, Jay Johnston, Jennifer Johnston, Ty Nagl, Christie Nagl, Sara McIntyre, Don McIntyre, Pat Newsom, Wayne Newsom, Cassie Weber, Jason Weber, Brian Andrews, Danielle Andrews, Lauren Banker, Ryan Banker, Jill Bodensteiner, Holly Rogers, Nicole Gassman, Thomas Gassman, Denis Hoshiko, Patty Mills Lowrey, Jesse Kosch, Kassondra Kosch, Brenda Sabo, Dennis Sabo, South Cox , Kyri Cox, Judy Howell, William Howell, Bethany Ingram, Kevin Ingram, Monica Sigler Brown, Mark Igel, Adam Hochstettler, Nicole Friel, Amanda Holland, Brion Holland.

The 107 individuals in total built a summary of their sentiments on school choice. Throughout this summary, statistics are noted that show a 4.5% decline in Colorado public school enrollment between 2019 and 2021, while charter school enrollment saw a 3.9% increase during the same period. Regarding these statistics, the summary states –

“As concerned parents, community leaders, local business owners, and taxpayers, we decided to explore the possibility of opening a charter school in Estes Park. When our preliminary inquiries for guidance led us to LCS and their Executive Director Ian Stout, we discovered we weren’t alone in our hopes. Thanks to its solid reputation for success, LCS has advised schools all over Colorado from Greeley to Grand Junction with guidance for board governance, curricula, and teaching methods.”

After taking a further look into LCS, these community members found the charter school shared a model of Collaboration with parents, great results for students and a powerful investment in our local community, which is exactly what they were looking for.

In their decision to invite LCS over another local charter school, the summary explains, “Every new charter school has high ideals and lofty aspirations. The difference, in this case, is that LCS is already living up to these standards and achieving these goals right now. They’ve made it work at two campuses just down the canyon, and we think that with our help, we can produce the same results here in Estes Park. For our children and our community, we would like them to try.”

EPSD Review Process

With this Oct. 21 submission, Superintendent Bode now has 15 days to determine if the application meets the criteria in EPSD Policy LBD-R, which pertains to charter school applications specifically. If the application meets this criterion, Bode will forward it along to the members of EPSD’s District Advisory and Accountability Committee(DAAC) who will review the application first before submitting it to the district’s Board of Education(BOE). BOE then has 90 days from the date of submission to vote on a resolution.

“Once I have reviewed the application, I will be working on my recommendation to the Board of Education, so I will not be able to speak on the impacts on the district in the next few days,” Bode explained. “I will have more information to give once I dig in more and determine these potential impacts on the district.”

If this application is approved, Loveland Classical Schools-Estes Valley plans to offer a classical Core Knowledge education for elementary and middle school students throughout the district. This would be LCS’ third campus, which would be financially independent and have its own school mascot, the Mountain Lions.

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About Pep Dekekr

Pep loves Estes Park, he lives here with his family and hopes to bring people to Estes Park and Estes Park to the people. Along with his wife Paige, they own EstesPark.com.

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