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Thursday, September 22,2011

Back in class

Settlement reached in Longmont charter school lawsuit

By Christie Sounart

 

A settlement has been reached in the lawsuit between a Longmont property management company and a local charter school accused of misbehaving.

Circle Capital Longmont LLC manages The Campus at Longmont, an area on the south side of the city with more than 37 buildings, including Flagstaff Academy, which teaches students from preschool to 8th grade. The property is located north of Pike Road between South Sunset Street and South Hover Road.

In March 2010, about eight months after the school moved to the business park, Circle Capital alleged that large amounts of traffic from the school filled the streets and other properties in the area, and that students and parents engaged in jaywalking, trespassing and illegal parking due to inadequate parking and loading areas, according to the lawsuit. Circle Capital also alleged in the suit that the school was creating circumstances that were “unreasonable and unsafe” for the students, parents and others involved with the businesses in the area.

Andrew Moore, Flagstaff Academy’s principal, and other school officials responded to the lawsuit and have made several changes to the drop-off and pickup schedule for parents. New parking procedures are also in place, says Lisa Krebs, communication director for Flagstaff Academy.

She says that a central concern from Circle Capital was that parents were parking along Miller Drive, the main road on which the school was located.

“The concerns that were there last year shouldn’t be there this year,” she says. “We’ve done a better job communicating with the children and the parents.”

The settlement was reached on June 10, and the two parties signed off on 10 agreements. Some of the agreements by the school include licensing 60 parking spaces from nearby Front Range Community College for additional afternoon parking, implementing a two-stage system for pick-ups, adding restrictions on releasing students from school, encouraging more carpooling, and educating parents on the terms of the agreements, according to the settlement. The settlement also states that both Flagstaff Academy and Circle Capital should improve their informal communications and cooperation with each other to “solve problems amicably” without outside legal involvement.

The school increased strict enforcement of its “drive line” policy, which is a detailed plan for parents who are dropping off and picking up their children and is aimed at providing an efficient and safe system for the school. The policy gives three time slots between 3:30 and 4 p.m. for parents and caregivers picking up their children, as a way to reduce traffic flow. Children are alerted when their ride arrives in the drive line, according to Krebs. Families that choose to carpool will be rewarded with an earlier and more convenient time slot, she says.

“We’ve segmented the times parents come at different increments, rather than all at 3:30. It’s a nice, consistently moving line of traffic,” she says. “It works really well.”

Krebs explains that the school worked closely with the city of Longmont and the Longmont police to ensure that Flagstaff follows all procedures necessary for smoother transportation to and from the school. A crossing guard and staff members also monitor the school after hours to ensure that parents and children are acting safely, she says.

Angela Dailey, senior property manager at Circle Capital, says that the system is working for now.

“We haven’t had any trouble,” she says. “School just started, but we are keeping an eye on it.”

Respond: letters@boulderweekly.com

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