Public Charter Schools

The Public Charter School Improvement Act of 2015, signed by Governor Hogan and effective June 1, 2015, continues to provide for public charter schools in Maryland, while altering pre-existing requirements and establishing new ones. Options for targeting specified student populations when making student placements at a public charter school are now reflected in the law. Public school staff, parents or guardians of public school students, nonsectarian, nonprofit entities, or nonsectarian institutions of higher education in the State can apply to establish a public charter school.

Private, parochial, or home schools are not eligible to become a public charter school. Public charter schools must be nonsectarian and open to all students on a space-available basis. Public charter schools cannot discriminate in their enrollment policies or charge tuition to students and must comply with all applicable health and safety laws.

A public charter school must comply with the provisions of law and regulations governing other public schools. A public charter school may seek a waiver of these requirements through a clarified appeals process to the State Board. A waiver may not be granted relating to audit requirements, student assessments, or health, safety and civil rights.

Charters may not be granted to schools whose operation would be inconsistent with any public policy initiative, court order, or federal improvement plan governing special education that is applicable to the State.

The State Board must provide technical assistance to the operators of a public charter school to help the school meet the requirements of federal and State laws. Professional staff members of a public charter school must hold the appropriate Maryland certification. Public charter school employees remain public school employees.

If a collective bargaining agreement is already in existence in the county where a public charter school is located, the employee organization and the public charter school may mutually agree to negotiate amendments to the existing agreement to address the needs of the particular public charter school.

Additional information for starting a public charter school in Carroll County is available from the
Office of Research and Accountability.

On July 9, 2014 the CCPS Board of Education conditionally approved an application submitted by Sustainable Futures, Inc to open the Carroll Montessori Public Charter School for the 2015-2016 school year. On December 10, 2014, the CCPS Board of Education approved an Addendum to the Charter School Agreement between Carroll County Public Schools and Sustainable Futures, Inc. This addendum delays the opening of the school until the fall of 2016 providing that all contingencies set forth in the agreement are met by the established deadlines. The contingencies include:
  1. Securing a facility that meets the application criteria on or before December 1, 2015;
  2. Submitting a budget that can support the program expenses without deficit spending. The school system does not allow deficit spending. If the budget is dependent on the receipt of grant funds, approval would be further conditioned on the approval of those grant funds by the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE). December 1, 2015;
  3. Modifications to any collective bargaining agreement require that CMCPS meet with CCPS and the bargaining unit to reach a formal agreement. February 1, 2016;
  4. Recruiting and hiring a qualified principal on or before March 1, 2016;
  5. Securing sufficient students to open the school as determined by the application process including, a lottery if one is needed, by March 15, 2016;
  6. Recruiting and hiring qualified staff by May 1, 2016;
  7. Approval of requested waivers requiring Maryland State Board of Education approval; and
  8. Continued operation of CMPCS is contingent upon required performance on Maryland standardized assessments.
For information regarding The Carroll Montessori Public Charter School please contact:
P.O. Box 450
Sykesville, MD 21784