Parents running Intercultura with break-even budget

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Parents of Intercultura Montessori students are running the school with a break-even budget, and plan to keep the school in operation, a representative said.

Parents assumed control of the language immersion Montessori school in December after its director fired the staff in an attempt to close the school. Teachers are working without a contract, but did not lose any income during the transition, said Sharon Barner, an interim board member and spokeswoman.

When the former director, Michael Rosanova, fired teachers the day before a regular payday, parents got together to make up for the lost pay with donations.

"We did not want them to spend the holidays without money," Barner said.

Intercultura operates two campuses, one for elementary grades in Cicero and a pre-school at 301 S. Ridgeland Ave.

Now parents are waiting for the next step in the legal process?#34;a hearing on the temporary restraining order that has allowed parents to form an interim school board to run the school, Barner said. The order required parents operate on a cash-positive basis, not acquiring any more debt for the school.

Regardless of the court's decision, Intercultura parents will keep the school operating, Barner said.

"I'm amazed with the effort of parents to ensure the ongoing viability of the school," Barner said. And although they're happy to help, "We all hope to be an interim group," she said.

Parents have helped paint and do accounting work. The school has hired two teachers and a facilities supervisor since the transition, according to its Jan. 12 newsletter.

A Montessori consultant is helping parents prepare a profile of characteristics they want in a new director. Parents will conduct a nationwide search for a new director, and hope to have the position filled by fall, Barner said.

Winston & Strawn is handling Intercultura's legal concerns on a pro bono basis, Barner said. Board member Susan Pipal is an attorney at Winston & Strawn.
?#34;Drew Carter

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