Commission receives notice of 7 charter school proposals

AUGUSTA – Seven groups informed the Maine Charter School Commission (MCSC) that they plan to submit applications to open public charter schools in Maine.  All of the groups hope to open a school in the fall of 2014.

The deadline for delivery of the letters to the Maine Charter School Commission or having them postmarked was this past Tuesday.

The letters received by the Commission include:
·         Adventures in Learning Career Academies, beginning with Grade 6, each subsequent year adding a grade until the school is Grades 6-12, Portland;
·         Birches Montessori School for deaf and hard of hearing students and their hearing peers, K-6, Central Maine Area;
·         Inspire ME Academy, Grades 4, 5, 6 and adding 7 and 8 in the new two years respectively, Sanford/Springvale;
·         Lewiston-Auburn Academy Charter School;
·         Maine Connections Academy and Maine Virtual Academy – statewide virtual schools;
·         and Many Hands Montessori School, K-3 expanding to K-8, Windham.

The two virtual schools are resubmitting in this third round.  Both of the applicants were represented at a MCSC workshop in June where the Commission and the public discussed the need for more defined information in the RFP and, subsequently, in the charter school applications.

The notices of intent are available on the Commission website at www.maine.gov/csc.The actual applications are due to the Commission by Dec. 2.

“Having received this number of letters of intent speaks to the interest and need for public charter schools in Maine,” said Commission Chair Jana Lapoint.  “We look forward to the receipt and review of the applications.”

In 2011, Governor Paul R. LePage signed legislation making Maine the 41st state to allow charter schools and there are now five public charter schools in operation here. The Commission can authorize up to 10 public charter schools through June 30, 2022.  Local school boards can authorize additional public charter schools.

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.  The public charter schools are accountable to the terms of the charter contracts that authorize their existence and the academic standards to which all other public schools are accountable.

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