Charter school commission gets new members, 8 notices of proposals

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this item contained an incorrect date. The potential charter school applicants would be seeking a fall 2013 opening, as now indicated in this updated copy.

The following is a news release from the Maine Charter School Commission.

AUGUSTA – The Maine Charter School Commission today announced the State Board of Education’s appointment of two new members and that eight groups submitted notice as of Monday that they plan to submit applications to open public charter schools.

John Bird of Spruce Head will fill the vacancy left by the resignation of Donald Mordecai, and State Board of Education member Heidi Sampson will fill the seat recently vacated by Dr. Lynda Doyle, whose term on the State Board will soon expire.

The Commission received notification from eight groups interested in opening a public charter school in fall 2013. Three were resubmitted from the last authorization cycle: Maine Connections Academy, Maine Virtual Academy and Monson Academy. The five new submissions are from: Heartwood Charter School, Kennebunk; Inspire Me Academy, Sanford/Springvale; Penobscot Bay Community School, Stockton Springs; Harpswell Coastal Academy, Harpswell; and Queen City Academy Charter School, Bangor.

The notices of intent are available on the Commission website (www.maine.gov/csc).

The Maine Charter School Commission is considered an “authorizer” under Maine’s public charter school law. Local school boards can authorize additional public charter schools.

The Commission, a seven-member body that can authorize up to 10 public charter schools statewide over the next decade, published a request for charter school proposals and an application that potential charter school operators must complete in order to open a school for the 2013-14 school year. The applications are due by October 31.

Charter schools are public schools of choice that have more flexibility than traditional public schools over decisions concerning curriculum and instruction, scheduling, staffing and finance. However, they are accountable to the terms of the contracts, or charters, that authorize their existence and the academic standards to which all other public schools are accountable.

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