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Music charter school opening with decreased enrollment – August 11, 2016

The Snow Pond Arts Academy charter school is preparing for a Sept. 6 opening with a projected enrollment of 75 – down from the 124 students written into its contract with the Maine Charter School Commission – and has made adjustments to its staffing to stay within budget, according to its director.

The full commission must still vote to approve the enrollment change in the school’s contract, but indicated at its meeting earlier this month that was going to happen.

Snow Pond Executive Director Mike Guarino said 67 students officially have enrolled, but he expects to hit the 75 mark. In order to bolster enrollment the school got permission last month from the commission to accept 11th graders this year. Originally the plan was to allow only freshmen and sophomores in the first year.

The school, which is the state’s first charter school focused on the arts, will operate at the site of the New England Music Camp in Sidney. The curriculum for core academics will be provided virtually by K-12 Inc., which also runs a completely virtual charter school in the state. Teachers have been hired to work with students at the school on their K-12 coursework. The art side will be taught by instructors on campus, with a focus on music, dance and theater.

Guarino said the school also is getting outside funding, including $100,000 from the Dead River Company’s MIMI Foundation. The money will be spread out over several years.

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