Charter renewed for STEM School Highlands Ranch

HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. — A Colorado school board has agreed to a conditional five-year charter renewal for the school where a recent shooting killed one student and wounded eight others.

The contract approved Saturday by the Douglas County Board of Education and STEM School Highlands Ranch officials comes hours before the school's charter was set to expire on Saturday.

The board already was scrutinizing the performance of the science- and math-focused school over concerns such as financial transparency and special education. The May 7 shooting led to new questions about security and operations.

Parents say the contract negotiations have been frustrating, and they’re relieved to have a compromise.

“We’re just trying to have a quiet summer and heal with our kids, and we haven’t had that opportunity even now that summers kind of half way over,” said Nikki Baird. “I’m glad that we’ve got our five year contract.”

She says she’s not worried about the school not meeting the contract’s requirements.

“As long as its specific enough and everybody feels like those are achievable conditions, than that’s good.”

STEM School Board member Rudy Lukez says his board unanimously approved the contract this morning, before it was sent to the DCSB.

“We really feel like this is a way to build upon all the successes we’ve had in the past, and what we’ll have in the future. [This is] Very good news.”

The contract agreed upon calls for a five-year charter if all conditions are met. If the school doesn't meet those conditions, the term is shortened to three years.

The conditions include a requirement that the school contract with local law-enforcement authorities for security.

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