Letter: River Bend Montessori plan is misleadingEarly in its conception, there was confusion about how the River Bend Montessori School would be a partnership between the Red Wing School District and the Jones Family Foundation.
By: Rachel Marshall, Red Wing, The Republican Eagle
To the Editor:
Early in its conception, there was confusion about how the River Bend Montessori School would be a partnership between the Red Wing School District and the Jones Family Foundation.
I attended School Board meetings and asked questions of the board members specifically as to how this program would be funded. I was assured repeatedly by the board that there was no cost to the district and that it was supported entirely by the Jones Foundation. A copy of the budget was even sent to me indicating the specific costs of the program and I was assured that these costs were covered elsewhere under monies from the Jones Foundation.
In summary, there was no additional costs to the taxpayers who had just passed a school referendum.
Interestingly at the last School Board meeting, there are now plans that the River Bend Montessori School will likely be moving into space at Colvil Family Center that is currently occupied by other community programs.
A core reason for this was that it “would be a cost savings to both the district and the Jones Foundation.”
I am unsure how it would save the district money when the board has vehemently denied any financial support coming from the district.
Again I ask, where is the transparency of this program?
Philosophically, the Colvil school programs have represented equal opportunity for all students in the district. The addition of the River Bend Montessori School will offset that equality because they do not follow the same guidelines of the district. They are not equal in opportunity for students or staff. The students and teachers are hand-picked and staff follow a different set of rules in regard to hiring and pay.
Let’s go back to the promises of the referendum and what voting “yes and yes” was meant to accomplish. There was no mention of starting up a new Montessori program and integrating it into the school district budget. Instead, we were led to believe that it would reduce class sizes and reinstate cut programs.