With construction well underway, Sandpoint will soon have its first new high school in nearly two decades, expanding educational options for the students of Bonner County. Hosting local media and members of the newly formed Communiversity group, Sandpoint Charter High School last week unveiled their innovatively designed facility, and announced the successful launch of a capital campaign to bring the project to completion. With goal of raising $750,000, the school has already received in excess of $230,000 in donations from the USDA and the JA & Kathryn Albertson's Foundation toward the cost of completion.
The charter school has operated as a middle school for nearly a decade, and has seen phenomenal growth in that time. With enrollment consistently meeting capacity, and waiting lists for most grades, the school's academic performance has been exceptional with excellent test scores and numerous extra curricular awards and achievements. Building on their successful middle school model, Sandpoint Charter School, at the request of parents and with support from the local school district, has now expanded to include Sandpoint Charter High School. Opened last fall with grades 9 and 10, the new Charter High School facility will officially open their doors in 2010, offering all grades 9 - 12.
At a cost of $3.3 million, possibly the least expensive school building constructed in the state, preliminary construction costs have already been secured by the school to see the facility operational next fall. In accordance with the schools' business plan, $2.2 million dollars of the project has been financed through the USDA and local lender Mountain West Bank, which will see the school approximately 70% complete. While the schools solid financial performance would guarantee financing for completion, it was the decision of the schools Administration and Board of Directors to seek community support in a major capital campaign to achieve 100% school completion.
"In the current economy, public schools, like other state agencies, are seeing budget cuts and a decrease in funding," says school administrator Alan Millar. "It would be fiscally irresponsible, and contradictory to our conservative operating philosophy, for us to take on additional debt without exploring other options. It is our hope that we will see substantial support for school choice in our community."
To find out how you can help, view school financial data, or learn more about Sandpoint Charter School, visit them online at www.sandpointcharter.org, or come in for a building tour offered every Wednesday at 3:30pm. The school is located at 614 S, Madison Ave. and can be reached at 255-7771 for questions.
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