Spring Glen group has plans to open charter school for neighborhood
Carbon School District Superintendent Steve Carlsen announced at the last Carbon School Board of Education meeting that some people in Spring Glen are making plans to possibly open another charter school in the area.
"They have come to me with their plan and they have already done a lot of work on it," said Carlsen. "The had a multiple page document that has been drawn up and want to move ahead."
Carlsen said that the plan includes a kindergarten through sixth grade school to be put somewhere in Spring Glen.
"They said that they would like to have a neighborhood school in their area," he stated.
Carbon District already has one charter school that is not affiliated with the district within its boundaries. That school is Pinnacle Canyon Academy and it is located where the Notre Dame Catholic grade school and high school were situated until it closed in the 1990s. Pinnacle Canyon has been in business since about 1999.
"Their proposal is to use the old Ann Self School (originally Spring Glen Elementary School) for a facility," said Carlsen. "They want to have classes with no more than 25 students and to follow the Utah State University experimental school design in terms of curriculum."
Utah State University has an elementary school on their campus called the Edith Bowen Laboratory School. That program is endorsed by the Logan School District and is used to not only educate elementary school students but as a training ground for those getting their teaching certificates by the university. It is a closely supervised school by both the university and the school district."
"Those that want to start this new school said they are not unhappy with Sally Mauro School (the school students in Spring Glen presently attend and which is located in Helper) but they want their own community school."
The board asked a number of questions of Carlsen about the proposed school, one of which was how much money the district would lose should a school like this come to fruition and fill up.
"We figure about a half a million dollars a year based on the weighted pupil unit formula," he told the board.
Charter schools around Utah have had varying kinds of educational success. Based on studies and reports some of them are the very best schools in the state, and others are at the bottom of the list as well. Some are totally run by the parents who start the school and others are sponsored by school districts.
While there are many roadblocks in the way of starting a charter school, proper facilities can be the one thing that keeps them from getting going. The old Ann Self School was donated by the school district to Spring Glen which has been using it for a community center. Once the prime elementary school in that part of the district, and built in 1927, it later served as the Ann Self School (which is now the Castle Valley Center in Price) and then went on to be a church and a Christian school for a number of years.
When Pinnacle Canyon began operation they held classes for at least one year in the north wing of the Greenwell Inn in Price and later moved to a building that had been built as a private school near the second nine holes at the Carbon Country Club in Carbonville. When Notre Dame closed the school moved into their building and has since added onto that older building. Pinnacle which started as an elementary school now has a junior high and a high school program as well. It has over 400 students attending it.
Concerns about using the Spring Glen building might include safety problems as well as whether the physical facility is up to serving such a need anymore. And there is also one other thing that could keep it from being used as a charter school as well.
"The present board should be aware that when the district donated that building to the Spring Glen community, part of the contract for that donation stated that the board has to okay the use of that building as an educational facility before it can be used for that," Carlsen told the board.