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Second virtual charter off table for now

Commission won’t reconsider second virtual charter

The Maine Charter School Commission decided on May 6 not to reconsider an application to establish a virtual charter school linked to virtual school giant, K-12 Inc., meaning there will be only one virtual charter opening this fall in the state.

Acting on the advice of their attorney, commission members decided the new information provided by the K-12 affiliated school was substantial enough to require a more thorough review than would be done in a reconsideration vote. The school is free to reapply for charter authorization next year.

The K-12 application was initially rejected in March in a 4-to-3 vote. It takes five votes to approve a charter school.

The commission’s decision means Maine Connections Academy, which is linked to the Connections Academy national chain, will be the only virtual school opening this fall in Maine. It was approved in March in a unanimous vote

The full commission April 6 approved the contract language for Maine Connections Academy. That means the academy is officially sanctioned to open up in the fall, provided it meets the terms of the contract.

A major concern for the school is whether it will meet the necessary minimum enrollment, which had been set at 243, or 10 percent below the projected enrollment of 270. The contract gives the school a loophole to come in below 243, allowing it to ask the commission to change the minimum enrollment language, if it successfully makes the case the school can operate with fewer students.

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