Assisted by the Cortez Fire Department, the Children’s Kiva Montessori School officially hung up its flag at noon Aug. 2.
School officials said it was a monumental moment for the charter, which has dealt with problems in the past year including falling enrollment, financial shortfalls and asbestos abatement.
“It may seem like a small detail to have a functional flagpole at a public school, but details matter,” Jeff Pope, Kiva’s interim head of school, said in a statement.
This will be the sixth year of operation for the charter school. Low enrollment has led to financial difficulties, since state funding is largely determined by per-pupil enrollment.
On top of enrollment issues, asbestos was discovered last fall at the school’s 601 N. Mildred Road location, leading to renovations and relocation of classes.
The school had been on notice from Montezuma-Cortez School District Re-1, which had concerns over the Montessori school’s financial stability, academic performance and state of the facilities.
The district set some conditions for Kiva to meet, in order for the school to retain its charter – it was supposed to show open enrollment requests for at least 98 students, in addition to demonstrating financial stability and a certificate of occupancy for the Mildred Road location.
Now, enrollment stands at 97 students. It must maintain an enrollment of 95 students through October, which is when the enrollment count is officially solidified for funding purposes, Pope said.
“But for the efforts of a few dedicated individuals – board members, parents and community members – this school should have closed,” says Pope. “It’s an extraordinary story of resilience.”