City school board maintains limit on charter facilities

May 12, 2004|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

Baltimore's school board voted last night to continue a limit on charter schools that would allow only three to be opened in the next four years.

The vote eased some restrictions on charter schools, however, by allowing existing independently run public schools opened as so-called New School Initiative Schools to apply to convert to charter status.

The New School Initiative group includes City Springs Elementary/Middle and Midtown Academy, which are among the highest-performing in the city.

Charter status would allow them to apply for federal funds but would change little else in how they are run or overseen.

Some 18 groups in the city have shown interest in starting neighborhood charter schools in the next several years, and one parent group has asked to open its school this fall.

The board was divided on the issue, with some members saying they were hesitant to vote on increasing the number because they didn't know what the financial implications might be.

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