The Maine Academy of Natural Sciences, the new endeavor by Good Will-Hinckley, has been approved as the first public charter school in the state. The school was one of six to submit applications to the Maine Charter School Commission by its June 29 deadline.
The commission voted Friday to approve the academy's application, moving it into the next phase, which is establishing a charter contract, according to a press release. MEANS will provide education to under-engaged and at-risk students, with a focus on agriculture and forestry. It hopes to serve about 40 students in the first year. The educational program first started last fall, following Good Will-Hinckley's two-year shutdown to reorganize.
On Monday, the commission rejected an application from the Cornville Regional Charter School because of concerns over financial stability, according to the Kennebec Journal. It delayed a decision on the Baxter School of Technology and Science in Portland until later this month, according to the Portland Press Herald.
Last June, a law was passed to allow charter schools, which are public institutions that are free to students, but can operate more independently than other public schools. The state began taking applications in May. The commission can authorize up to 10 public charter schools over the next decade.
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