Sussex Montessori School Approved To Open In 2019

The Delaware State Board of Education unanimously approved the charter school application for the Sussex Montessori School this evening with a 6-0 vote.  The second charter school in Sussex County will open at the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year.  However, there were some conditions for the approval and should the charter school not meet those conditions, their charter would be revoked.

The two big conditions dealt with student enrollment and an actual facility.  Delaware Secretary of Education Dr. Susan Bunting said the charter school must have 80% of their enrollment by May 1st, 2019.  As well, they must have an actual facility in place.  Currently, the school has not made a firm decision on a building or even an actual location in Sussex County.

The enrollment decision could be tricky.  In the past, as was seen in the case of Delaware Design-Lab High School and Freire Charter School in 2015, they were not at their 80% enrollment numbers by May 1st of 2015, a mere four months before they opened.  This caused both to go under formal review.  While they met those numbers and escaped charter revocation, they did go through the formal review process first.  Bunting’s decision to revoke the charter if that 80% is not met caused Delaware Charter School Network Executive Director Kendall Massett to immediately question the decision.  I will have to check Delaware state code on this one!

This will be the second Montessori charter school in Delaware.  First State Montessori Academy, located in downtown Wilmington, opened in 2014.

Sussex Montessori School Withdraws Charter Application

Wow! I have been out of the loop!  Sussex Montessori School withdrew their application for their charter school to open up in the 2018-2019 school year.  This happened on January 16th.

It doesn’t look like the Delaware Dept. of Education officially dug into their application because it is not showing any response from the DOE on their website, just the below withdrawal letter.  I am actually surprised at this.  There is only one charter school in Sussex County and there has been a plea from folks like Kendall Massett at the Delaware Charter Schools Network for more charters in lower Delaware.

The letter does indicate they will submit another application in December, 2017 for the 2019-2020 school year.  This is probably the longest stretch where Delaware has not seen any new charter schools.  If their next application gets approved, it would be four years between new charters opening anywhere in the state.  But I would rather see them err on the side of caution and make sure they get it right then rush to opening.  That didn’t work out very well for some charters in recent memory!