August 23, 2018
As many of you know, our Board has worked tirelessly over the last few years to bring to life what Boulder County families have clamored for: a small, engaged high school option that prepares our children to solve the global challenges of tomorrow.
This week we need to announce that after pursuing facilities options for the newly approved Summit Academy over the summer, the Board has decided to put Summit Academy activities on hold for the near future. A few circumstances have contributed to our decision:
Lack of a Viable Facilities Option - When BVSD approved our application in April, they declined to provide facilities as they have for district schools and for Summit Middle School. While we grappled with alternatives to overcome this financial hurdle, philanthropist Jack Chang of LiveWell Foundation stepped forward with an offer to help us find and finance a property for the school in Superior. Last week, however, Jack filed an affidavit to indicate he is considering a potential run for Mayor of the Superior. As a public school, we cannot be associated, even informally, with a political campaign and have therefore decided to suspend our involvement in LiveWell’s Superior BrightGen campus. Going forward, we will continue to consider all viable facilities options.
Uncertainty of Operating Funding - A top priority for us throughout the last year has been to ensure that Summit Academy does not put our middle school at financial risk. Recent discussions with BVSD suggest the district plans to reduce the high school’s operating budget below the current funding levels provided to the Summit Middle School. The Board of Education is also providing no assurances about the security of the mill levy funding that charter schools have historically received. Finally, the Colorado Charter Schools Program (CCSP) grant which was expected to provide startup funding this summer has been further delayed by the U.S. Department of Education.
Our attention is firmly focused on Summit Middle School, ensuring it has the resources and attention to continue to thrive, and as well as avoiding undue distraction and financial risk. Over the coming months, we will take a “wait and see” approach to evaluate opportunities for facility funding as well as the financial viability of a new school as discussions with the district and community continue.
At this critical juncture, the Board wants to express our unending appreciation for the volunteer efforts, support of the community and leadership which helped make the vision of Summit Academy a possibility for Boulder County. Many of you gave so much of yourselves to help us with marketing, design, facilities and much more and we will be forever grateful. And we especially want to celebrate the leadership of Sonny Zinn, our Project Manager and former school leader of Horizons, who guided us through every stage of this wild journey.
We remain committed to the vision of Summit Academy even while pausing to re-assess its feasibility under the current conditions. If you have any questions, please contact Sonny at email@example.com who will work with me to ensure we address them. We will keep you posted as events unfold.
Michelle Moore Hernandez