Local School Denied Funding for Expansion

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COLUMBIA - Children at Columbia Community Montessori get what their teacher calls a quality education at a low-cost. 

Teacher Lara Landrum said the school helps educate children in the communuty, regardless of their family's financial situaiton. 

"Children are children," Landrum said, "They are all exceedingly enthusiastic about learning and money doesn't matter with that." 

Since it opened in 2009, the school has continued to grow. The school's director said the waiting list is longer than the enrollment list. Columbia Community Montessori had hoped to expand their facilitiy by purchasing a house on Oak Street in June. They asked the City of Columbia for $152,000 of block grant funding. That cost included the price of additional parking spaces and a sprinkler system required to meet building codes. 

City officials said they had to deny the school's request because there wasn't enough funds available for all of the requests in the community. 

Despite the fact they didn't get funding this time, the school is not giving up. 

"We need to expand and there is a great deal of desire by parents to get their children into montessori programs," Executive Director Myke Gemkow said. 

Landrum said by this time next year, she hopes the school will have grown to reach more of the community, making it a stronger candidate for the city's block grant funding. 

"I get excited thinking about having a number of different classrooms where money is no longer an issue. Where any child, just because they're of a certain age, is able to come and learn," Landrum said.  

Columbia Community Montessori was one of four organizations that was denied block grant funding this year. The city officials said it has seen a 20 percent decrease in this type of funding over the last three to four year. 

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