Due to a budget shortfall, a charter school that has been operating in Garden City since the fall of 2006 will close its doors on Friday, school officials said.
The DaVinci Charter School opened in 2006 as the Garden City Community School the name was changed because some thought it was a community college, said Director Cindy Hoovel. The K-8 charter school integrates art into all of its core subjects.
"It's a hands-on, active type of learning," said Andrea Dearden, a board member who had two children who attended the school. "There's not a single day that my kids didn't want to go. They absolutely loved it."
The school had an enrollment of 130 students, about 45 percent of whom came from Garden City. The rest were students from all over the Treasure Valley.
Hoovel said the school began in modulars, then moved into a church. It later moved to a strip mall on Chinden Boulevard, but the lease wasn't renewed after a firearms store and brewery moved in nearby. It finally moved to portable trailers on Glenwood Street, across from Hawks Memorial Stadium. The plan was to build a permanent school at that site.
Several things led to the decision to shutter the facility, including unanticipated costs associated with moving to the site, utility installation costs, higher-than-average special needs services costs, and enrollment under 200 students.
The school's operational budget was about $500,000, Hoovel said. The board paid off remaining bills it does not have any remaining debt and opted to close rather than incur operating costs that could not be immediately paid.
"We were able to close now and avoid teachers working without pay and avoid kids having any more disruption," Dearden said.
Hoovel said parents were notified about the closure several weeks ago, and the students have been placed at schools around the Valley. Eighteen staff members, including eight certified teachers, have lost jobs as a result of the closure.
"Yes, I need a job," Hoovel said. "I've been spending all of my time getting students and teachers placed."
She has no regrets. "It was a worthy effort the academics were shooting up, and everything was coming together."
Katy Moeller: 377-6413