Charter Commission advances two applications, schedules public hearings

Two charter school applications, Acadia Academy and Snow Pond Arts Academy, are moving forward.

AUGUSTA – On Oct. 26, the public will have the opportunity to weigh-in on two public charter schools proposed to open in Maine the fall of 2016.

Earlier today, review team members presented their recommendations on the four applications to the Maine Charter School Commission which voted to advance applications from Acadia Academy of the Lewiston-Auburn area and Snow Pond Arts Academy in Sidney.

The entire seven member Commission will now consider the proposed public schools and hold in-person interviews and public hearings on each application later this month before voting on Nov. 17. At this meeting, the Commission will decide whether to enter into contract negotiations with each applicant or deny the application. All proceedings are open to the public.

On Oct. 26, from 9 – 11 a.m., the in-person interview for the applicants proposing the Snow Pond Arts Academy charter school will be held at the Burton Cross State House Office Building in Augusta, Room 103. A public hearing will follow at the same location from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and written comments will be accepted by the Commission through close of business on Tuesday, Nov. 4.

The in-person interview for the applicants proposing the Acadia Academy will also be held on Oct. 26, from 2 – 4 p.m. at the Burton Cross State Office Building, Room 103. A public hearing will follow at the same location from 4 – 6 p.m., and written comments will be accepted by the Commission through close of business on Nov. 4.

Written public comments on any of the applications can be sent to mcsc@maine.gov or the Maine Charter School Commission, 182 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333-0182. Submissions can also be delivered in-person to the 5th Floor of the Burton Cross State House Office Building,111 Sewall Street, Augusta.

Applications from the Inspire ME Academy of the Sanford area and the Peridot Montessori Charter School of the Hancock County area were also considered. While the Commission was appreciative of the interest, time and effort that the applicants had made in preparing their applications, the Commission voted to deny those applications. These applicants can reapply to the Charter Commission when the Commission issues another request for proposals.

In 2011, Governor Paul R. LePage signed legislation making Maine the 41st state to allow charter schools and establishing the seven-member Commission as an authorizer of up to 10 public charter schools through June 30, 2022. Local school boards can additionally authorize public charter schools.

Currently, there are seven charter schools serving about 1500 Maine students. These include the Baxter Academy for Technology and Science in Portland, Cornville Regional Charter School, Fiddlehead School of Arts and Science in Gray, Harpswell Coastal Academy, Maine Academy of Natural Sciences “MeANS” in Hinckley, and two virtual public charter middle-high schools including Maine Connections Academy with offices in South Portland, and Maine Virtual Academy with offices in Augusta.

For more information about the Maine Charter School Commission or to see the current applications under review, visit www.maine.gov/csc, or contact bob.kautz@maine.gov, or call 592-8352.

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