A charter school is considering the closure of its Manchester campus at the end of the school year, which would mark the second closing of a New Hampshire charter school in 2021.
The board of Making Community Connections charter school will decide next week if they will close the Manchester campus, and consolidate in their Keene location.
Making Community Connections students in Manchester had been remote learning since March 2020. The school was renovated over the summer, and students only began returning for part-time in-person instruction in March 2021.
Making Community Connections has operated a school for almost 20 years in Keene, and opened a campus in Manchester in 2012, for middle and high school students.
“As our school enrollment has declined, we face a mounting challenge to sustain school operations,” a statement from the board this week read. In 2018, the school counted 80 students, but enrollment is down to 47. The school had fewer than seven full-time equivalent teachers in 2019, according to data shared with legislators.
“After extensive analysis, the Board must consider consolidating MC2 into a single campus,” trustees wrote in a statement on the school website.
Trustees invited members of the school community to attend a virtual trustee meeting Monday evening. It also encouraged people to send comments to Jodi Adams, chair of the board of trustees. In the statement, trustees said they were committed to transparency and a process that centers on the needs of students and educators in any potential transition.
Because charter schools do not get funding from cities and towns, they rely on aid from the state, meted out based on how many students enroll.
The state law governing charter schools suggests charters privately raise money to match the state funding they receive. But fundraising varies from school to school, so some rely more heavily on state aid than others. According to documents filed with the state office of the Legislative Budget Assistant, Making Community Connections raised just under $8,000 — many New Hampshire charter schools were able to raise $70,000, and the most successful raised $185,000 in 2019.
Money trouble pushed a Concord charter school to close earlier this year.
The Capital City Charter School, in Concord, surrendered its charter on Feb. 4, and has filed for bankruptcy. The school had hoped to enroll 140 students by 2019, but that year just 40 students attended.
The school was four months behind in rent for its space at the Steeplegate Mall, according to court documents, and owed money to the federal Small Business Administration, for a loan the school used to buy furniture and computers.