North Routt charter school grant rescinded |

North Routt charter school grant rescinded

School can reapply for funding to help build facility

— Groundbreaking for the new North Routt Community Charter School won’t happen this spring, as originally planned.

The Public School Capital Construction Assistance Board rescinded a $3.1 million Building Excellent Schools Today grant that was awarded in August to the charter school, school Director Colleen Poole said.

The grant required a 35 percent cash match, about $1.7 million, which the school was required to have by Dec. 31. Ted Hughes, director of the Capital Construction Assistance program for the Colorado Department of Education, said the charter school was unable to raise the entire match.

Hughes said the charter school had been awarded other grants totaling $700,000 and had raised additional cash through pledges and donations. He said the remainder was secured through a bank loan.

“We were just very concerned that they wouldn’t be able to make the payments on the loan,” Hughes said. He added that there were also concerns that the loan wasn’t in compliance with state statutory requirements for the BEST grant.

The school operates in three buildings off Routt County Road 62 in Clark that total 3,400 square feet. A special-use permit from the county restricts the number of people allowed on its campus to 75. The new building was slated to be more than 12,000 square feet.

The building would have been a quarter mile north of the current school, on the same site as North Routt Preschool. It would double as a community center.

Poole has said the new building would allow the school to grow. She said the rescinding of the grant was a setback.

“We were very disappointed, but not defeated,” Poole said.

She said the charter school has been asked to reapply. The deadline is April 9. Poole said the school was pursuing other funding alternatives and probably would reapply for the grant.

“It’s kind of the only game in town that can provide those funds,” Poole said about the BEST grant. “There aren’t a lot of funding sources that can provide a $3 million grant.”

She said if the school reapplies, it would do so with a scaled-back building. Poole couldn’t say what that would be because the final plans haven’t been completed by CalCon Constructors, the contractor selected to build the school. But she said the total project cost would be less than $4 million, which would reduce the match to a more realistic number.

Hughes said he couldn’t speculate about whether the charter school would win the grant again if it reapplied. But he said the school’s application would be a priority during the Capital Construction Assistance Board’s discussion of requests in June.

If the grant application were approved, a recommendation would be forwarded to the Colorado Department of Education Board, which would take action in August.

Poole said if the charter school reapplied and was approved, construction would begin in March or April 2011.

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