Charter school may get reprieve

Board member to seek 2nd look at application

Education Beat

News from Anne Arundel County schools and colleges

March 13, 2005|By Liz F. Kay | Liz F. Kay,SUN STAFF

An Anne Arundel County school board member will ask her colleagues Wednesday to reconsider a decision to reject a charter school application from a nationally recognized group.

On March 2, board member Tricia Johnson voted with four members to reject the application for an Annapolis-area charter from KIPP, or Knowledge is Power Program, even though she says she admires the group's success with low-performing students in other locations.

She said she still has concerns about aspects of the application and the board's responsibility under the state's charter school law.

At the meeting, board members approved an application for a science and math charter school in Glen Burnie, subject to successful negotiation of a charter agreement by May 18.

KIPP officials said they planned to appeal the initial decision to the State Board of Education. They hope to enroll fifth-graders in the KIPP Harbor Academy for summer school before classes start in the fall.

After discussing concerns with KIPP and school system staffers, Johnson decided that "working it out locally may be a much wiser approach."

Wanting to reconsider the motion doesn't guarantee the school a green light.

The Davidsonville resident needs five board members to agree at their meeting Wednesday to reconsider the original 5-3 vote to deny the application.

The board then must vote on the motion to deny. If it were to fail, then a board member could move to approve the application.

The eight-member board requires five votes for any motion to pass.

But representatives of KIPP were pleased.

"We're thrilled to work with the board," said Lizz Pawlson, who serves on the founding board. "We want this to be a collaborative effort and a partnership that raises achievement for all students in Annapolis.

"We're hopeful that the fact that the board is willing to revisit this issue means that they're willing to approve our application," she said.

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