Grassroots community group Sustainable Futures, Inc. has filed a letter of intent with the Carroll County public school district seeking to open a tuition-free public charter school, Carroll Montessori Public Charter School, in the fall of 2014.
This would be the first charter school in Carroll County and it would offer non-sectarian, tuition-free public school to Carroll County children, grades 1-5, advocates said. According to a news release from the group, the school would be operated in accordance with all local and state charter and public school regulations.
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The charter school would be intended to offer a free public school option that applies the Montessori philosophy, which uses multi-age groupings and an extensive curriculum taught with hands-on materials and cross-discipline learning, advocates said.
Sustainable Futures spokesperson Nicole Musgrave and media contact Elizabeth Barrett stressed that they are not in any way dissatisfied with Carroll County Public Schools.
“We are looking to provide another option to complement an already great school system," Barrett said.
Sustainable Futures, Inc. is in the process of submitting the application for the charter to the Board of Education and the Carroll County Public school system. If approved, group members do not propose to build a new facility, but instead have been developing a list of leasing options.
Sustainable Futures, Inc. is also pursuing grant options to cover start-up costs, advocates said. However, local and state funding would cover the attendance of the children, just like any other public school, Barrett said.
According to the 2012 Maryland Report, the average cost per pupil to attend schools in Carroll County is $12,208. The addition of this new school would not impact the per pupil budgets; it would simply lower attendance across other schools, Barrett said.
According to organizers, any families interested in having their children attend would apply, and admittance would be decided on the basis of a lottery. Applicants would be chosen at random until all of the spaces were filled, group members said.
A community meeting will be held at the South Carroll Senior and Community Center, 5928 Mineral Hill Road, Eldersburg, Monday, Feb. 25 at 7 p.m. to discuss the proposal and next steps of the project.
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