Charter school could solve crowding issues in Windham
Members of the Educational Choices Foundation (ECF), a newly-formed Windham organization, said they are currently in the process of preparing the charter’s application to submit to the state Department of Education (DOE).
Donahue noted that other solutions to the district’s space shortage have previously fallen short. Plans to build an additional school were rejected by voters twice in recent years, and this past year’s closure of the modular classrooms at Golden Brook School has forced local school officials to take some drastic measures, including bringing some of the district’s third graders to the high school for their daily lessons.
If approved, the charter school could be eligible to receive $500,000 in federal start-up funds, he added — funds that could be used to construct the facility at a yet-to-be determined location.
A nine-member board of trustees would oversee Windham Academy operations, with that board to be comprised of parents, citizens, a professional education expert and at least one Windham School Board member.
He noted that another charter school, the Academy for Science & Design in Nashua, is currently the state’s leading middle and high school. The state-sanctioned school enrolls about 450 students, Baker said, with another 200 on a waiting list. Officials from the Nashua school have shared their knowledge with the ECF and have offered to advise locals in the creation of the Windham Academy’s curriculum.
“His advice and guidance has been very helpful in designing our curriculum,” Baker said of Kukshtel. “He’s an expert in STEM education.”
Once that happens, a public referendum will go on Windham’s March 2015 ballot. If approved, the Windham Academy will seek 501c3 status in April 2015, with the school aiming to open that fall. “We have a lot of challenges ahead,” Donahue said. “But once we get a referendum approved, we can begin searching for an appropriate facility in our town.”
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