School board holds hearing on proposed charter school in Windham
The School Board has until Sept. 15 to decide whether they’ll accept the charter’s application.
After hearing from dozens of citizens for and against the charter school, School Board chair Jerome Rekart said the district has been working with Attorney Gordon Graham to tackle some of the legal ramifications.
Carpenter asked the ECF to disclose their funding to date, and requested more details on how the charter school could potentially affect the local tax rate.“I think this proposal has merit, but it doesn’t appear to be a tax-saving event,” Carpenter said. “Also, I’m not sure at this time how the School Board can calculate (the Academy’s) impact on our current facilities. It’s not clear to me how a K through 8 charter would allow us to delay building a new facility or go through a significant remodel.”ECF officials said they weren’t prepared to discuss certain financial details this week and organization chair Sean Donahue said a location for the school couldn’t be finalized yet for a number of reasons.
A recent report compiled by district Business Administrator Adam Steel focuses on “a number of assumptions on how we would budget this charter school.”
“It’s a concept that’s difficult to understand,” he added. “The district doesn’t take 100 percent of what we’re using and keep that extra 20 percent for us. This would be an expense for us.”
“This is important to note, because we wouldn’t be paying 80 percent for those students,” Steel said.
While ECF officials believe the charter school could stand to save taxpayers up to $1.8 million each year, district officials said they’re not quite sure.
To cover those costs, Steel said a slight reduction of labor might be one option, though hardly a simple solution.
“The net cost to the district is going to be a volatile number,” Steel said. “Because we don’t know how many students will actually be attending the charter school, or the ultimate ration of Windham students versus out-of-town students.”
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