Commission receives notice of 9 charter school proposals

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

AUGUSTA – Nine groups informed the Maine Charter School Commission by Wednesday’s deadline that they plan to submit applications to open public charter schools. Seven of the groups hope to open a school this fall, one in fall 2013, and one is considering both options.

The nine include four that were widely anticipated – Baxter Academy of Technology and Science, Portland; Cornville Regional Charter School; Maine Academy of Natural Sciences, based at the Good Will-Hinckley School in Fairfield; and Maine Virtual Academy, an online charter school – plus five others.

One of the five, Monson Academy, submitted its notice Monday. The four others, which were filed with the Commission on Wednesday, are: Fiddlehead – Art & Science School, Gray; John Jenkins Leadership Academy, a virtual school; Maine Connections Academy, a virtual school; and Rural Aspirations Project, Monroe.

The notices of intent are available on the Commission website, at http://www.maine.gov/csc/.

“This is an auspicious start to the process,” said James Banks, Sr., the Charter School Commission chairman. “It shows strong interest in the role that charter schools can play in Maine’s educational future. Commission members and I look forward to reviewing these applications thoroughly, but also as quickly as possible so that those that are qualified and ready can open this fall.”

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 2012-13 school year. The applications are due by June 29, but the Commission plans to review some completed applications before then and could announce decisions starting as soon as mid-June.

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.

The Commission expects to issue a second request in late August for charter school proposals for schools to open in September 2013.

Maine Charter School Commission | mcsc@maine.gov