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New Derry charter school to hold open house next week

DERRY - With the new Next Charter School in Derry beginning to take applications at the start of the new year, the school's board and co-directors will hold a conversation with the public about the school on Tuesday.

Theschoolboard first voted to move ahead with an alternativecharterhighschoollast December. In the spring, town voters approved a warrant article supporting theschool, and earlier this summer the state's board of education gave its approval for theschool.

TheNext Charter School is meant to provide a smaller setting for students who may not necessarily succeed in the larger setting at Pinkerton Academy.

The public conversation is open to all interested community members, parents of high school and soon-to-be high school students, professionals who work with adolescents, and middle and high school students. The event is scheduled for Tuesday from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Coffee Factory in Hood Commons.

Some of the topics that will be covered include what a charter school is, the type of students the school will be looking for, how charter schools are funded, who can attend the school, how charter schools are operated, and how the student experience at Next will be different from a traditional high school.

The operation of thecharterhighschoolis expected to be cost neutral to theschooldistrict. The district will take the cost for students attending Pinkerton Academy and subtract what it gets in state aid. The difference between the two figures will pay for the students to go to thecharterschool.

Thecharterschoolwill be located at the Gilbert H. Hood MiddleSchooland theschoolwill be renting the space from the district for an annual fee of $1.

Theschooldistrict will act as the financial agent for thecharterschool, and thecharterschoolwill also be reimbursing theschooldistrict for janitorial and nursing services.

With state approval, the district also received startup funding for theschool. The state will provide about $200,000 per year in start-up costs for theschool's first three years. That money can be used for anything from furniture and equipment to curriculum development. In addition, the state will also pay $5,400 for each student attending theschool.

The school will begin accepting applications for enrollment for the 2013-14 school year on Jan. 3. Student applications will be available on the school's website at The school is anticipating about 30 students in its first year.

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