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CHARTER TROUBLE: School Has Budget Issues

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The Des Moines Charter School is facing budget troubles.

It opened just 16 months ago with the goal of keeping at-risk students from dropping out. But the charter school has had problems since it opened.

Laptops were stolen and the school didn’t have a good system to track them. After parents showed concern for lack of leadership, Director Nina Rasmusson announced plans to step down at the end of June.

Now there are financial worries. The school receives money from the district on a per-pupil basis. But with enrollment down, the board says the school is short on cash for next year. Members say they will not vote in favor of increasing the amount per pupil the district pays the charter school.

Now, the district will ask the non-profit foundation that helps raise money for the charter school to come up with more cash.

“After everything that’s going on, are they willing to step up? They may not be willing to.  They may not want to throw more funds into this,” said school board member Bill Howard.

The Des Moines school board hopes to determine whether the foundation will pay more and will have a report at the end of the month. But classes start again July 16th at the charter school giving the district very little time to find funding and hire a new director.