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Cortez grants Kiva Montessori permit for two locations

Decision comes after school failed to meet benchmarks
The sign for Children’s Kiva Montessori School sits at 601 N Mildred St.

The Cortez City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a conditional use permit allowing the Children’s Kiva Montessori School to move into two buildings as the struggling charter school faces the possibility that it might not survive past May.

At least one council member was hesitant when the vote was called. Orly Lucero waited for a few seconds before stating, “Yeah, I guess.”

The Montezuma-Cortez School District RE-1 announced in December that CKMS had breached its charter with the school district. It gave the charter school two months to show it could meet enrollment and facility conditions.

The school district reported on Feb. 19, that CKMS had failed to meet enrollment stabilization and sustainability conditions and partially met facility stability and sustainability conditions.

Associate City Planner Neva Connolly said CKMS has a current conditional use permit for its building at 601 N. Mildred Road, but the building is under renovation and not habitable.

The school has conducted classes at Crow Canyon Archaeological Center in the interim and now has permission to house K-5 classes at 25 N. Beech St. while 6-8 graders will be housed at 215 N. Linden St. until the Mildred Road location can open in August.

“I don’t think this is an ideal situation for the school. It’s like the worst-case scenario,” Connolly said. “They’re doing what they can to stay in operation for the next few months.”

Although CKMS officials say they plan on moving out of the two downtown buildings by the end of the school year, City Attorney Mike Green made sure the resolution included a provision that the conditional use permit be reviewed annually in case something happens and CKMS cannot move back into the Mildred Road location.

“They’ll have that security blanket,” Green said.