Board backs idea on Glade Park school

A proposed alternative school in Glade Park has the support of District 51 after the board of education Tuesday voted unanimously in favor of it.

Board President Leslie Kiesler said the resolution passed by the board was a “starting point” for the project. While all board members voted to support the school, some said they still had questions and concerns about the project and that Tuesday’s vote was not a license to proceed without addressing those concerns.
Board member Diann Rice said she struggled while deciding whether she would support the Glade Park school, but said she would vote firmly for it.

“I still have many questions,” Rice said, “and some reservations.”

Rice said she would like to be part of the team that moves forward with the project to make sure the anonymous donor who offered to build the school is committed to the project and that the school fits with District 51 standards.

The school needs enough students to be financially viable as well, she said.

Superintendent Tim Mills said the school would not mandate attendance for students living in Glade Park, but would be a school of choice, much like the New Emerson School.

According to the resolution that was passed, the Glade Park school could open at a temporary facility for the 2009-10 school year until the anonymous donor builds the school on donated land and leases it to the district for the 2010-11 school year and each year thereafter.

The school’s operation would be funded by the district and offer alternative K-2 education.

The resolution said district administration would examine the temporary facility by May to ensure it was suitable.

The board would need to see a plan for school operation and budget requirements as well as an agreement with the anonymous donor that included lease terms and school design for the board to approve the plan in March.

Board member Ron Rowley said he would like to see an energy efficiency requirement in the design and said the district should investigate whether some of the district’s exemptions in planning school construction could be used by the private donor.


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