Re: DSM: Questions for Lisa

Allan Saugstad (
Tue, 09 Jan 2001 11:29:57 -0800


I am not sure if you know this, but I think we once talked about opening a new
school. I too am in the planning stages of opening a sudbury-like school just
outside of Vancouver, B.C.

We are looking at buying real estate in a beautiful rural setting. To make it
financially feasible, we are looking for 8 families to go together , each paying
around $100,000 each for a lot. These lots would be flexibly zoned so that we
could build 8 homes and a school on the land (40 acres total). Each family would
then build their own home on their own lot.

This way we can plan a caring, child-friendly community and have like-minded
people who are interested in founding a democratic school for their children.
There seems to be a lot of young families interested in this idea. The school
itself would be open to anyone (we would need more than just the 8 families'
kids). As an accredited teacher and vice-principal, I am looking at the
possibility of opening it either as an alternative public school or an
independent school. Both options are fraught with potential problems, but
because the land for the school would be paid for by the 8 owners, operating
costs would not be too enormous.

Anyways, this is the plan for now. It's a hell of a lot of thinking and work,
but hopefully something will come of it!!

I look forward to communicating with you more!


CindyK wrote:

> Questions for Lisa:
> > We are presently looking at several sites with a realtor.
> What kind of sites are you looking at and where is the money coming from?
> Our idea is to create a school which is not only
> > for our children, but for long term. Very important to know how each
> > founder feels about this.
> This is my goal as well.
> "Starting a Sudbury School" is an excellent book
> > to receive lots of tidbits like that.
> I've got it on order and have been waiting anxiously for over three seeks
> now.
> >
> > As for obstacles, there haven't been many yet. Anyone in N.S. can start a
> > school according to the Dept. of Education.
> I've quickly looked into the ministry of ed here and so far it looks like
> you just have to inform them of your annual intentions to run a private
> school. There are inspections for those who wish to give out "credits" but
> inspections are not mandatory. That's all I know so far other than the
> building code stuff too - I know there's a lot of that.
> We have a lawyer and Stephanie
> > is meeting with an accountant today to discuss getting non-profit status.
> I
> > suggest seeking professional help instead of trying to save money.
> How did you get your lawyer? I'm looking into that as well. A friend of
> mine is a lawyer in Toronto but she says she doesn't know about this kind of
> stuff. Is there a specialty that corelates to this kind of work? I also
> have the info on non-profit organizations in the mail for me. I never
> thought of an accountant though. Are you paying all these people and if so,
> how?
> Finding
> > a site may pose some difficulty do to zoning. I'll update later on that.
> I'd love to hear the update! This seems to be a BIG barrier.
> > We have had two talks with Danny presenting and another planned for
> > February. Also, we're starting regular "talkabouts" in our home so that
> > interested people can learn more. We have a mailing list and will be
> > sending out invitations on a regular basis.
> I can't wait till I can visit the school (I'm hoping for the spring but I
> have two young children and practice attachment parenting so I'm not
> comfortable about leaving them although they are getting older - 4 and 2.5)
> We'll see. how do you do your talkabouts? Is it just informal? Do you
> advertise them? How have you found out who's interested?
> > One thing that I've read over and over again is how incredibly difficult
> it
> > is to start a school. I learned about the school about 9 months ago, and
> I
> > knew in an instant that this was for me, but now as I learn more, I
> realize
> > why previous founders have found the task daunting. We are completely
> > confident that a school will get off the ground as long as we continue to
> > meet and talk with interested people on a weekly basis.
> Why is it that past founders have found it so difficult and for you things
> are going smoothly. Have they paved the way enough that the road is
> clearer?
> > I don't know if my words have enlightened or not (I'm also pacifying a
> > teething 6 mth. old at the same time so my thoughts are a bit scattered).
> I
> > can update you on our progress if you'd like. My e-mail is
> >, but I'm comfortable with writing here if
> anyone
> > else is interested.
> >
> > Lisa
> >
> You're words have actually been very motivating for me. I have my days when
> I fell overwhelmed with the task ahead and I had one of those yeasterday.
> You helped to lift me up to see the light again. Thanks!
> Good luck with your 6 month old. I'm glad those teething days are gone! :)
> How many kids do you have and what ages. If they are school age, what are
> you doing with them now?
> Thanks so much for sharing.
> ~CindyK

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