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Montgomery County's Only Public Charter School Goes Private

Crossway Community Montessori Charter School will no longer operate as a charter school in the fall.

After the current school year ends, the Crossway Community Montessori Charter School (3015 Upton Dr., Kensington) no longer will operate as a public charter school. Patch file photo.
After the current school year ends, the Crossway Community Montessori Charter School (3015 Upton Dr., Kensington) no longer will operate as a public charter school. Patch file photo.
Montgomery County's only public charter school will become a private school this fall.

After the current school year ends, the Crossway Community Montessori Charter School (3015 Upton Dr., Kensington) no longer will operate as a public charter school, according to a news release from the Montgomery County Public Schools system.

The Board of Directors for Crossway Community, Inc., which operates the charter school, voted on Tuesday to terminate the charter at the end of the 2013-2014 school year. The school plans to continue as a private school beginning next school year. 

The board of directors had tried to close the budget gap between its public funding and what it needed to raise in private donations, but the board ultimately determined that the school's financial structure was unsustainable.

Public funding was available for 40 of the 100 students at the school, which teaches students in mixed-age classrooms of 3-, 4- and 5-year-olds according to the Montessori educational model.
 
Parents were notified of the board's vote in a letter sent on Jan. 15, and a parent meeting will be held on Thursday at 6 p.m. 

"Despite our best efforts, we could not sustain the school financially as a charter and will move forward to provide services as a private school," Peter Kirby, chair of the Crossway Community Board of Directors, said.

"We appreciate the support and guidance we received from Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) throughout this process and we are committed to serving our students as a charter school for the rest of this academic year," he added.

Crossway’s not-for-profit non-charter school, which has operated for the past 22 years, is "fully prepared logistically to absorb all [public] charter school children for the next school year—and at this year’s tuition rates. Parents can also enroll their children in their neighborhood MCPS schools for next year. All other Crossway activities will continue uninterrupted," according to the school system's news release.

"We will work closely with the school and parents to ensure a smooth transition for students who move to their neighborhood school next year," MCPS Superintendent Joshua P. Starr said.

"We know this was a difficult decision for the board of directors and we will work with the charter school to facilitate the transition for students and their families," Starr added.

"Everyone involved can take heart that we’ve all had a promising vision of what the future of education will look like," Crossway Community CEO Kathleen Guinan said.

"We know now where some of the pitfalls are and we have also seen the great potential of the idea. For [more than] 22 years, Crossway Community has been and is committed to making great things happen for young children and their parents. ... We will continue to focus on improving the lives of our youngest citizens ages zero through six years," she said.

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