Charter school advocates ready to make case for new Nashua school
If it opens, it would become part of a field of educational institutions that have a "bright" future, according to one top state official.
"The governor has been thought of as a charter school supporter in the past, but her decision to entrust the care of these public schools to a man with such openly hostile views is a betrayal," said Matt Southerton, director of the New Hampshire Center for Innovative Schools.
"The future of charter schools in our state remains bright," Raffio said. "We understand that charter schools play an important role in our public school system, and that role requires a strong commitment from founders and parents to achieve success."
In 2003, the state kicked off a 10-year pilot program to include up to 20 charter schools.
Prior to 2003, charter organizers needed approval from the state and local school boards. In 2011, a bill was passed by the Legislature establishing the pilot program on a permanent basis and removing the 20-school maximum.
In addition to the push to open a charter in the Nashua area, Windham is also looking to set up such a school.
Partnerships at work
Raffio said there are several current examples of partnerships between public and charter schools in New Hampshire that are working.
Next gets $5,498.30 in state adequacy funds for each student each year. The Derry district also pays Next what it would have given Pinkerton, about $10,700 a student, minus what it loses in adequacy funds, about $4,748 this school year.
"The North Country Charter Academy is another great example of an integrated, cooperative charter school," Raffio said.
The school provides computer-based instruction along with faculty coaching and support to nearly 100 students a year.
Charter schools receive state adequacy funds of $3,749.15 per kindergarten student and $5,490.80 per student in grades one through 12. While communities where charter schools open their doors are not required to provide services such as lunch and transportation, agreements are occasionally reached - with taxpayers picking up the cost.
"For the Academy for Science and Design, we added two buses to our route schedule to accommodate students," said Nashua Director of Transportation Dave Rauseo.
"There's another school scheduled to open this fall, but without enrollment data it's too early to know if we need to add any more buses," Rauseo said. "Where we can, we try to match up students with existing pickup routes for the public schools."
The Founders Academy, a new classical charter school, is set to open at 5 Perimeter Road in Manchester Sept. 2.
Other schools scheduled to open include the Gate City Charter School for the Arts in Nashua, a K-4 school; Granite State Arts Academy, a public chartered school in Derry, grades nine through 12; and Mountain Village Charter School in Plymouth, grades one through three.
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