At yesterday’s Delaware State Board of Education meeting, it was announced the Mapleton Charter School of Whitehall submitted a major modification request on 9/16. Mapleton is looking to move to Kent County, lower it’s enrollment and change it’s name. While the last is not part of a major modification, the Charter School Office at the DOE is rolling it all into one big request. The school is scheduled to open in the 2016-2017 academic year.
From my recollection, this would be the first time a charter has switched locations to a different county in Delaware. Kent County currently has six charter schools: Campus Community, Providence Creek Academy, Academy of Dover, Positive Outcomes, First State Military Academy and Early College High School. Three of them are in Dover, two in Smyrna, and one in Camden-Wyoming. The only other charter school south of the Caesar Rodney School District is Sussex Academy, in the heart of Indian River School District.
Jennifer Nagourney, the Director of the Charter School Office, said it would be up on the Charter School website, but she also emphasized this is a very large application to which State Board member Pat Heffernan advised Nagourney to “get her reading glasses.” I can’t wait to see it though. I would love to know where they are planning to locate in Kent County. I know Kendall Massett published an editorial on Town Square Delaware over a year ago about needing more charters in Kent and Sussex County. While the bulk of Delaware’s charters are in New Castle County, and more specifically, Wilmington, two of the new charters that opened this year went on formal review due to low enrollment. They made it out of that status, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Mapleton saw this happening and started making new plans.
I’m sure we will have more answers next week. If I were a betting man, I would guess we could say them looking to move to southern Kent County. But this is all guesswork on my end. If this were the case, and I’m not saying it is, this could affect enrollment in Caesar Rodney, Lake Forest and Milford school districts the most. And any location would of course be based on approval by the State Board of Education. The State Board previously approved their application to begin as a K-2 school, with an enrollment of 100 in each grade. Each successive year, the school will add the next grade going up to 5th grade in four years for a total of 600 students by 2020. But of course, if the major modification is approved, their enrollment will be less. And obviously, their Middletown area location would be different. And they probably don’t want to call it Mapleton Charter School at Whitehall if they aren’t in Whitehall.
Ironically enough, Mapleton’s Chair of their Board of Directors is Dr. Michael Stetter. Stetter used to work at the Delaware DOE as their Director of Accountability Resources and