A Dream Partnership for Creekstone Montessori School

Business | 02.06.2024
“Creekstone has gotten where it is today because of a whole village of supporters, including Merchants. The Bank played a significant role in allowing us to continue our mission and serve the community through our educational offerings.” – Elissa Behnke, Creekstone Montessori School
Elissa Behnke, Interim Operations Director for Creekstone Montessori School, will be the first to admit that forming a new charter school was an ambitious project. In 2019, Elissa and several Red Wing community members got together to talk about how to make Montessori education accessible for more families in the area. From those conversations grew the idea of forming a new charter school. 
It took over two years to navigate through the application and preoperative planning processes with the state of Minnesota and in the fall of 2022 Creekstone opened its doors and became fully operational. From there, the school had to find funding sources to support their needs.
“Charter schools are like a startup business,” Elissa explains. “It’s truly an entrepreneurial effort with funding that works differently than traditional public schools. While we received state funding and a federal start-up grant, both came with some limitations which caused cash flow restraints. Luckily, we found an amazing financial partner in Merchants Bank.”
The school worked with the Bank on a business line of credit that would help cover the funding gaps and pay for things such as classroom materials that was needed for the upcoming school year. From furniture to tablets for assessment testing and more, Creekstone was able to outfit their entire school to fulfill the needs of their 100 pre-school through seven-grade students. 
“The banking team, headed up by our banker Patti, really worked with us to understand and meet our unique needs. They wanted to support our mission. The line of credit honestly allowed us to continue operations and is something we can rely on as future needs arise.”
With nothing but successes to celebrate in their first operational year, Elissa is excited to see what the future holds for Creekstone. This year the school is fully staffed, has met nearly all grade-level enrollment projections, and has students waitlists .
“We’re so honored to serve our community and being able to partner with Merchants is the perfect fit,” shares Elissa. “We are as equally invested in the success of Merchants Bank as they are in Creekstone Montessori. It’s a dream-come-true community partnership.”

Additional resources:

Loans subject to approval.

Share this:

Select a location