Failed inspection delays start date for new charter school

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - The first day of school for students attending New Summit Charter Academy has been pushed back to Wednesday after the new school failed inspection.

Principal Kim McClelland said construction crews have to make minor fixes to be in compliance.

“Some of them were lowering a couple sinks in a couple bathrooms,” McClelland said. “We had a couple things where a hallway was too dark, and we needed to replace one of the fire signs in another area. We had to paint some red on our fire lane areas. So really minor changes.”

She said classes were supposed to start on Aug. 15 with the rest of District 20. However, construction delays forced the school to push the start date back to Monday. On Thursday, McClelland learned the school had failed inspection. The new start date is scheduled for Aug. 22.

“This isn’t uncommon. It’s unfortunate, obviously, but it is not uncommon when starting a charter school or starting a school,” McClelland said. “We’re not going to be throwing something together in order to make sure that we can open school, but that we will ensure that kids are safe when they come in.”

Parents had mixed feelings about the delayed start.

“As a mom, I was like, ‘No, take my kids. I’m ready for vacation to be over,’” Brooke Bachmann said with a laugh. “But then after we told our kids, we all were like, ‘Well how exciting is this.’ We get a few bonus days of summer vacation.”

Other parents said the delay put a strain on them. One mom told 11 News she already had to pay about $200 for child care for her son after the first delay. She said she doesn’t know what she’s going to do with her son next week until the school opens on Wednesday.

McClelland said the school has been trying to help families figure out what to do if the delayed start inconvenienced them.

She said the construction crews have been great trying to get everything done and asking inspectors to come in off-hours to make sure the school is ready by Wednesday.

Teachers will be able to set up their classrooms starting Saturday, according to McClelland.

“This is going to be a great environment, a safe environment and fun for the kids,” Bachmann said. “They’re not going to open those doors until they can guarantee that all of those things will happen.”

McClelland said the school will start as Kindergarten through sixth grade. Next year, the school will add seventh grade. In 2020, eighth grade classes will join. Eventually, New Summit Charter Academy plans to start a high school.