Breaking News
More () »

Charter school in Lakewood closes because of a lack of staff, parents unsure when it will reopen

Parents said staff are concerned with recent leadership changes and fear the school may not reopen for the rest of the school year.

LAKEWOOD, Colo. — On Sunday night parents and students at Great Work Montessori, a charter school in Lakewood, learned there would be no school on Monday because the school didn’t have enough staff to have a safe learning environment. 

This isn't the first time Casey and Arianne Buell have had to re-arrange schedules to accommodate their 9-year-old and 5-year-old missing class. 

"Over the course of the year the kids have been out for weeks," said Casey Buell. "Yeah, it's been chaotic." 

The Buell's aren't sure what's going on but they said recently there have been several leadership changes and said staff is concerned with the pick for the new head of school. 

The Buell's said their 9-year-old hasn't been able to continue taking his state mandatory testing either. 

"To our knowledge they don’t have any staff here at the school with licensure to be able to administer these tests," said Arianne Buell. 

In an email to Great Work families and staff, the Jefferson County Public Schools Superintendent, Tracy Dorland, wrote "because charter schools are governed by their own board structures, the district does not typically get involved in the day-to-day operations of their schools. However, we do have a responsibility to Jeffco families to ensure that all schools in our district are providing safe and supervised learning environments." 

Last week they provided substitute teachers, but that wasn't enough to keep the school fully staffed this week. 

The school held an emergency meeting for parents, and the Buell's said they were still left in limbo after. 

"The kids are really confused and you can tell their emotions are high and we aren’t getting good communication so we aren’t even sure how to communicate with our kids," said Arianne Buell. 

Parents will have to figure out what to do the rest of the week as they anticipate school being closed. 

The Buell's are concerned it will be closed the rest of the year. 

"Parents believe in the Montessori style," said Arianne Buell. "It’s a really beautiful way of learning, and everyone wants to support that but it's made it really difficult to be able to do so." 

9NEWS reached out to the school on Monday and were told no one is commenting. 

The property that Great Work Montessori sits on is owned by Great Work Education Holdings Incorporated. That non-profit is run by James Walton, the grandson of the Walmart Founder. The Jefferson County school district group that approves charter schools had previously found concerns with the transparency of this relationship. 

SUGGESTED VIDEOS: Education stories from 9NEWS  


Before You Leave, Check This Out