Deadline for charter schools likely means few will open this fall

Posted March 06, 2012, at 9:17 a.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — The Maine Charter School Commission has given itself a July 1 deadline to decide whether to approve proposals for charter schools.

That deadline gives any group that plans to a start a school this September only 60 days to recruit students, hire teachers and prepare classrooms.

Commissioner Donald Mordecai said Monday that means probably only one or two schools will open in Maine in 2012.

The Portland Press Herald reports that Commissioner Dick Barnes said the commission is moving cautiously because it wants to make sure that any approved charter school succeeds.

The state’s charter school law enacted last year allows approval of as many as 10 charter schools over the next decade.

Charter schools are funded primarily by public money but are free from many public school regulations.

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