ESBR receives VCF grant

LUDLOW, Vt. – From its inception, creating a cost-effective financial model for educating youth that is more community focused and locally controlled has been a priority of ESBR’s leadership team.

As ESBR enters its second month of its third year of operation, it has received $0 from the state’s Education Fund. It continues to be 100% funded by a combination of charitable donations and tuition payments. Currently, ESBR is a “recognized” independent school. “Approved” status is required, so that state Education Fund dollars can follow students from school choice towns who want to attend this school. In July 2021, the Board of Trustees submitted ESBR’s application for approved status, and a required site visit was conducted on March 30, 2022. Because it is still not clear when the timeline for securing public funding will be completed, ESBR’s Board is now crafting solutions through social entrepreneurship.

Due to the Agency of Education’s inaction, ESBR is at an inflection point. ESBR has a proven model and is experiencing an increase in requests to accommodate more students. In order to grow its scope of impact, more structured and diversified revenue streams need to be established.

With VCF’s award of the Nonprofit Capacity Building grant, ESBR’s Board is pleased to be able to hire Trevor Barlow, a local business owner and entrepreneur to consult on the design of diversified revenue streams for sustaining ESBR. A proven leader in community programming and planning, Trevor well versed in the challenges VT’s mandate to merge schools (Act 46) has created for this region.

By exploring business opportunities that have a positive impact on the community, this project intends to establish a blueprint for reducing the cost of educating children in any community. To ensure financial sustainability for the school and its community partners, we intend to create a flexible and community-oriented system of learning at the secondary level.

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