North Routt Preschool in Clark.

North Routt Preschool in Clark. |

North Routt Preschool kicks off fundraising campaign

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— North Routt Preschool in Clark is kicking off a sizable fundraising campaign in an effort to pay down the school’s mortgage.

School Director Kerri Ann Crocker said the preschool was approached by several local philanthropists interested in donating $50,000 to pay down the school's mortgage, which is currently at about $150,000.

Crocker said the donors challenged the school to also raise $50,000, with the philanthropists’ donations acting as matching funds.

How to donate:

Anyone interested in donating to the fundraising campaign can call the school at 970-871-4559, mail a donation to P.O. Box 992, Clark, CO 80428 or visit the school’s fundraising page at coloradogives.org/preschoolfund.

The school will also hold its annual Spring Fling fundraiser Saturday, March 25, 2017, at Vista Verde Ranch.

Owning the 2,400-square-foot building outright would provide long-term stability for the preschool program, Crocker said.

The school’s building is situated on Eagle Lane in Clark, next door to the separate, public North Routt Community Charter School, a K-8 program.

“Being a small school, having that mortgage, has always made it difficult for the school to operate,” Crocker said. “As a nonprofit, if we were to own the building, the community would always have this facility.”

Crocker took over operations of the preschool in 2012, after the school was temporarily closed because of about $46,000 in debt it had accrued.

The school received a $25,000 loan from Routt County that year and got to work whittling away the debt, while also working to pay down the mortgage, which then stood at about $200,000.

Crocker said that work has paid off, and thanks to additional donations, including a grant from the Craig-Scheckman Family Foundation last year, the school has made progress in paying off the mortgage.

“Over the years, people have been contributing to that cause,” she said.

Routt County ultimately turned the loan into a grant to the school, and the school now has no outstanding debts other than its mortgage.

The school serves an important purpose for the North Routt community, Crocker said, though paying off the mortgage while dealing with fluctuating enrollment can be tricky.

Currently, the school has about 30 students, with about 20 attending on average each day, and a capacity for 26 per day.

Preschool students are charged $53 per day, and students 12 months to 3-years-old are charged $60 per day.

Parent Alex Mathisen said North Routt’s strong schools played a large part in her family’s decision to move to North Routt.

Her 4-year-old daughter Jade has attended the preschool for three years, and Mathisen joined the preschool board to get more involved in the community.

Mathisen said paying off the mortgage would allow the school to focus on other fundraising and improvement efforts.

“If we can have financial security, the school can be there forever,” she said.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email tristow@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow

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