After the Montezuma Cortez RE-1 School District’s decision to close Pleasant View Elementary School, members of the community jumped into action to keep the doors open by transforming it into a charter school for the 2023-2024 school year.
The decision to close the school came about because it was “critically under-enrolled” and had “significant deferred maintenance that is not feasible for the district to maintain in order to keep the facility operational,” according to documents obtained from Assistant Superintendent Eddie Ramirez.
The elementary school, which is at 15238 County Road CC, will officially close June 1.
The school’s charter application was approved by the Colorado Department of Education and is in the process of transfer.
The Pleasant View charter application was approved by former board member Stacey Hall and Board President Sheri Noyes on June 29, 2022.
In a letter Sept. 19, Superintendent Tom Burris told charter organizers that he was proposing that the school board pass the title of the Pleasant View Elementary school building, land, water tap and furniture to the Pleasant View Charter, with the caveat that if the charter closed, the stated assets will be transferred back to RE-1 school district’s ownership.
Organizers Monique Mack and Tammy Hampton applied for the Colorado Charter Schools Program grant and were awarded final approval for a multiyear startup grant that will apply to 2023-2024 as of Feb. 14, 2023. Pleasant View Charter School is a nonprofit organization.
The school building must undergo significant maintenance before the school can be opened as a charter, according to the Pleasant View Elementary assessment and scoping document for mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems.
Three furnaces need to be replaced and cooling systems added, along with HVAC systems in the gym. Other components that must be replaced include exhaust fans, all electrical distribution equipment and plumbing fixtures, and septic system piping, water pipes and water heater.
Additionally, bathrooms will need to be updated to be ADA compliant, the kitchen hood needs fire suppression, and a fire sprinkler system must be installed.
Many of the school’s fixtures are original to the building and are “at the end of their useful life,” Some fixtures should have been updated 10 to 15 years ago, according to the numbers stated in the mechanical, electrical and plumbing assessment by engineers George Augustini and Ryan Stromquist of Mazetti Inc. design services.
According to a CDE report done in July of 2020, the total approximate amount to fix the maintenance issues would cost about $2,638,331 and has likely increased because of inflation.
At that time, the new electrical system would cost an estimated $239,817, equipment and furnishings $191,528, exterior enclosure $584,649, fire protection $11,087, HVAC system $111,377, interior construction and conveyance $521,918, plumbing system $100,102, site $555,790 and structure $322,062.
Teachers who work at the school now will be given options of other places they can work in the district, and the Pleasant View charter plans to hire three teachers. The classes will be combined into three groups – kindergarten and first grade, second and third grades, and fourth and fifth grades. They are hoping to add sixth grade for the 2024-2025 school year.
“All current employees at Pleasant View that have a contract with Montezuma-Cortez RE-1 District that wishes to stay at PVCS will be given priority,” Hampton said.
The new charter’s board is working on policies and procedures for the school and is planning teacher salaries and job descriptions.
They are hoping to open enrollment and list open jobs in April.
“Pleasant View Charter School formed in response to the community's determination to keep the school open and provide a school choice for the community and surrounding areas,” Hampton said. “The Pleasant View School has been a vital part of our community for over 60 years. Every long-standing family has a memorable connection to it. Many have had three generations of family members attend there.”
“It's always a shame when a school closes in a small community. All of a sudden that spark of life that contributes so much is gone for good. Pleasant View Charter School will continue to bring high quality education to our community and the surrounding areas and keep the rural aspect alive that is so important in the lives of our community members,” she continued.