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Lack of Funds Forces Des Moines Public Schools to Shelve Planned Montessori School

DES MOINES, Iowa -- The future of a new Montessori school in Des Moines is now on hold.

Des Moines Public Schools (DMPS) announced its intention to build the district's second Montessori school back in 2017. The school would have served pre-kindergartners through sixth graders; many of whom currently attend Brubaker and Garton elementary schools.

Now the plans for the school are being shelved. District officials say funding is the primary reason for the decision. While they have enough money to build the school, they don't have enough funding from the state to staff it.

“The past several years of under-funding public education in Iowa is taking a toll, and our plans for a new Montessori school is a price that unfortunately must be paid,” said Thomas Ahart, superintendent of DMPS. “While the construction cost of the school building would have been met thanks to the statewide sales tax, the general fund expense of staffing and operating an additional school is simply not feasible at this time. As we prepare to reduce spending by millions of dollars, including not filling many teacher vacancies, this new school will simply not fit in our budget.”

“I think the lesson is that budget decisions made at the state level have impact and consequences at the local level and this is one of what we may see as many examples not just here but across the state,” said Phil Roeder, director of communications for DMPS.

DMPS says they are holding onto the land for now in hopes that they can build the Montessori school someday or use it for another need the district may have.

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