School Reborn 

The Garden City Community School will live to see another term.

The charter school's plan to get itself out of debt and on firmer financial ground was formally accepted by the Idaho State Charter School Commission last week, ensuring the school will open its doors again next fall.

The fledgling school faced hard times after a last-minute change of location forced school officials to break rental agreements for both property and modular classrooms (BW, "School of Hard Knocks," May 30, 2007). The broken leases, combined with the cost of retrofitting a new space and an unexpected drop in enrollment, caused the school to go $55,000 into debt.

Because of this, the Charter School Commission threatened to consider revoking the school's charter if its board of directors did not provide a viable plan to get the school back in the black and increase enrollment.

The school's board of directors presented its first plan on May 23, but was sent back to the drawing board when commissioners said it lacked necessary details. This revised plan was approved on June 14.

"This has been a great opportunity for us," said Barbara Gaston, Community School board president, in a prepared statement. "We are confident that the Garden City Community School will continue to thrive and grow, and we appreciate the Charter Commission's vote of confidence."

While the school ended last year with just 84 students, the financial plan shows enrollment commitments from 116 students, and school organizers are hopeful that number will grow to 135 by the start of school.

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