Four groups have applied for the last three charter school slots available in Maine, which currently has seven charter schools.

Applying by Tuesday’s deadline were Inspire ME Academy in York County, Peridot Montessori Education in Hancock County, Snow Pond Arts Academy in Sidney, and Acadia Academy in Lewiston-Auburn.

The Maine Charter School Commission reviews applications and authorizes schools, a months-long process with multiple steps. The commission will take a first vote Oct. 13 on advancing the new applications to a second phase, which involves interviews, and then make a final decision Nov. 17.

If it approves any of the schools, they would open in the fall of 2016.

Sheepscot Bay Charter School in Wiscasset had filed a letter of intent but did not apply. A commission administrator said the group was working with the local school instead of applying for a charter.

Inspire ME would serve grades four through eight; Peridot would serve pre-K through eighth grade; Snow Pond would serve grades nine through 12; and Acadia would serve pre-K through sixth grade.

The actual applications – which are hundreds of pages long and spell out the details of each school, including size, finances, curriculum and other factors – were not immediately available Tuesday from the commission.

State law allows a maximum of 10 charter schools. Maine already has five brick-and-mortar charter schools and two virtual charter schools. A total of 1,540 students attend charter schools in Maine, which has about 184,000 students.

Also Tuesday, the commission voted to allow commission chairwoman Shelley Reed to act on its behalf to approve a satellite facility for Baxter Academy for Technology and Science in Portland, which is located at 54 York St. The satellite facility, at 561 Congress St., consists of five classrooms with 8,000 square feet of space formerly used by the Salt Center for Documentary Studies. Baxter has a three-year lease, with an initial base rent of $45,000, but school officials say they are already looking for larger space to accommodate the entire school.

Commission officials said Tuesday that using the Congress Street space for this fall’s incoming class has been delayed while toilets and other items are added to the site to meet city code on K-12 school facilities.

In an Aug. 22 email to Bob Kautz, executive director of the commission, Baxter officials described the use of 561 Congress St. as “a transitional move.”

“While we have entered into a three-year lease, we are already looking at plans for another nearby facility of 30,000 square feet which could accommodate our entire student body (325-350),” wrote Carl Stasio, Baxter Academy’s executive director.

In an email Tuesday, Stasio said the school wanted to remain in Portland and that the “longer-term goal” was to find a larger space for the entire school. He declined to provide any details of the eventual move, saying it “might compromise our ability to get the best offer for our school.”

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.