Raintree Learning Community: A Closer Look at The New School

Raintree Learning Community, a private school, wants to move into Town and Country. Patch has written a number of stories on the proposed plan and concerns with it. Here is some other basic information about the school.

Town and Country aldermen are reviewing plans for a new private school, , to move into the city. Last month, , the Town and Country Planning and Zoning Commission approved the preliminary development plan for the facility to be built at 2000 to 2016 Amonte Drive, just off Mason Road. 

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As previously reported by Town and Country - Manchester Patch,  is a private school currently located in Ballwin.  The school would be accessed from Mason Road, but the building itself would sit more than 300 feet back from the road.

The one-story building would sit on the almost 11-acres. The location was previously approved to be the Amonte Subdivision. The neighborhood was to include seven residential lots, but those homes were never built and that location remains vacant.

Owner Ilya Eydelman said he selected the location for the green school because of its natural surroundings which he said is ideal for the school's nature-based curriculum.

Town and Country City Attorney Steve Garrett has given his his legal opinion on Raintree to both the city's planning and zoning commission and aldermen. He said after researching the facility, he believes it does qualify as a "school" by city guidelines.

Garrett said the city code defines a school as an educational facility and Raintree meets the requirements. He said the information he has received from the school shows the teachers are all full-time certified teachers who have degrees and the school follows and educational model.

"They're providing kindergarten and pre-kindergarten schooling," Garrett told the Planning and Zoning Commission when asked for his legal opinion.

He said Raintree does have a child-care license with the state, but Eydelman said that is a technicality to remain in good standing with the state.

Garrett said the school's proposed location near the intersection of Mason and Manchester roads is a suburban estate zoning district.

Brandi Cartwright, academic dean with Raintree Learning Community, said the school takes the same yearly breaks as the Parkway School District and takes breaks throughout the day that mirror other area schools.

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The school holds three events during the school year that will require additional parking, Eydelman said. He explained that the necessary parking will be provided in an area that will look like a lawn and be cared for as such. The events are held during school hours and will not create noise for nearby residents.

If the proposal to build in Town and Country is approved, the school facility and grounds cannot be rented out on evenings or weekends for events, according to Alderman Fred-Meyland Smith.

Children are dropped off between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. and picked up between 3 p.m. to 6p.m.

Nearby residents have voiced concerns over traffic due to children coming to and from the school, but a traffic study paid for by the school and reviewed by the City of Town and Country stated the new school is expected to have "little impact" on area traffic.

Alderman Chuck Lenz also previously told Patch that he was concerned about the traffic impact, but he now says he went to Raintree's Ballwin location and spent time observing the morning drop-off. He said parents dropped off children sporadically and there was no traffic congestion. The school closes at 6 p.m.

Andrew Cathlina, managing director with The Private Bank tells Patch the bank has been involved with the property for the last five years and has had very little other interest in the property.

Eydelman's goal is to have the new school open in Town and Country for the 2013-2014 school year.  

Final approval for the school's preliminary site plan could be voted on at the next board of aldermen meeting on Sept. 24.

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