The Kensington public charter school that became Montgomery County’s first will go back to operating as a private school next school year.
On Tuesday, the Board of Directors for Crossway Community, Inc., which runs the Community Montessori Charter School, voted to close the public section of the school because of insufficient funding.
The school opened as the county’s first public charter for the 2012-2013 school year, but said it only has public funding for 40 of the 100 students. The school has mixed-age Montessori-style classrooms of 3-, 4- and 5-year-olds.
According to a press release from Montgomery County Public Schools, parents can enroll students at the school in their neighborhood MCPS school for next year. Crossway’s not-for-profit non-charter school “is fully prepared logistically to absorb all charter school children for the next school year — and at this year’s tuition rates.”
In September, The Gazette reported that Crossway did not receive any school-system funding for its 3-year-old students and only received funds for some of its 4-year-olds who are income eligible. The school was looking to raise $150,000 in private donations during the 2013-2014 school year.
“We will work closely with the school and parents to ensure a smooth transition for students who move to their neighborhood school next year,” MCPS Superintendent Joshua Starr said in a prepared release. “We know this was a difficult decision for the Board of Directors and we will work with the charter school to facilitate the transition for students and their families.”
Crossway’s CEO said the failure of the charter school shouldn’t mean the end for the model in Montgomery County.
“Everyone involved can take heart that we’ve all had a promising vision of what the future of education will look like,” Kathleen Guinan said. “We know now where some of the pitfalls are and we have also seen the great potential of the idea. For over 22 years, Crossway Community has been and is committed to making great things happen for young children and their parents. This is consistent with the best research in the country in preparing our children for the 21st century. We will continue to focus on improving the lives of our youngest citizens ages zero through six years.”
Parents were notified of the vote in a letter on Wednesday and there will be a parent meeting at the school on Thursday at 6 p.m.