CORNVILLE — Kaleb Miller turns 5 on Sept. 13.

The Cornville youngster comes in just under the Oct. 1 deadline to be eligible to enter kindergarten at the new Cornville Regional Charter School, which will be among the first charter schools opened in Maine.

His mother, 29-year-old Stephanie Miller, said she wouldn’t have it any other way.

“Kaleb is ready for school — we were going to hold him back because he will be so young, but we have so much confidence in these people and this school that he’s going this year, without a doubt,” Miller said. “It’s the only place for him.”

The charter school board will host an open house and student registration from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the school on West Ridge Road. The open house will be a chance for parents to meet other people who are interested in sending their children to the school and get all their questions answered.

Classes are set to start Oct. 1.

The board also is accepting applications for three multi-age classroom teachers, two education technicians, a special-education teacher, a teaching principal and an office secretary.

Cornville residents at a special town meeting last week voted to sell the former Cornville Elementary School and about 7 acres of land to the charter board for $1. There are seven classrooms, a full school kitchen and a gymnasium.

Cornville Town Clerk Tammy Chamberland said the show-of-hands vote was nearly unanimous among the 50 to 70 voters at the meeting.

The charter school, with an estimated 45 students in kindergarten through grade 6, was approved July 17 by the Maine Charter School Commission.

A charter school is a public school that receives public money — state, local and federal — but is created and operated by parents, teachers and community leaders, free of the rules and regulations of the area school district. Charter schools are open to all regional students, with no additional tuition fees or admissions tests.

Public school funding from the state will follow the child from the school district where the student resides to the public charter school the student attends, according to the law.

The Cornville school will offer a longer school day, personal learning plans for every student, a gardening program and the ability to schedule social studies, science and health programs for the same period for all grades, kindergarten through sixth grade.

“I love the personalized plan they have for the children,” said Miller, who is manager of the Athens Corner Store, owned by her family. “I love how it’s about the children. It’s education-based. It’s just going to be wonderful.”

Miller and her husband Chris, 32, plan to enroll their other two children in the charter school when they are old enough, too. Tyce is 3 and Samantha is eight months.

Miller said she likes the charter school approach to education with its 15-1 maximum ratio of student to teachers.

“The child is going to know where they are and what’s expected of them,” she said. “Younger kids are going to work with older children, which I think is wonderful. The age groups are going to be mixed and they’re going to work at their own pace. It’s very exciting for us.”

Miller added that with local people on the board and even possibly working at the charter school, she is confident her child will be in good hands.

“It’s a set of eyes on my children when I’m not with them,” she said.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

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