At the Feb. 8 Board of Education meeting the board approved Chesapeake Public Charter School’s (CPCS) application to form a new school in St. Mary’s County. With the approval, the school system and CPCS had 30 days to complete the charter agreement, as specified by State mandates.

“We clearly delineated some quick steps that needed to occur,” said Superintendent Martirano. “A lot of work took place over the last thirty days.”

“We’ve had a very collaborative working relationship,” Martirano said of the Board of Education and the charter group. “I’m very pleased to make a recommendation today to approve the charter agreement.”

The school board voted unanimously to support Martirano’s recommendation, and the first charter agreement for St. Mary’s County was signed into effect at Wednesday’s meeting.

“I’m very proud of the way CPCS and the school system worked together to make this charter agreement in just 30 days. A lot of people thought we couldn’t do it,” said board member Mary Washington.

 Signing the charter, Tuesday

Fellow Board of Education member Gary Kessler was one of those people. “I didn’t think this could be done in 30 days,” he admitted. “Kudos to all those involved.”

Although the agreement has now been signed and approved, there remain several issues that need to be resolved before the school will be ready to open. Discussions about the physical facility remain paramount.

“This is why we recommended an opening no sooner than August 2007,” said Martirano. “The group has an incredible amount of work to do.”

The charter agreement allows for the group to find an alternate site if they cannot work through requirements for the current facility at Christ Episcopal Church in Chaptico.

The charter is granted for a period of four years and will be reviewed annually to ensure the school, which will be part of the St. Mary’s public school system, meets the county’s educational requirements.

For the founding members of the Chesapeake Public Charter School Alliance, Tuesday marked the culmination of three years of dedicated work.

“You’re witnessing history,” Maribeth Boeke Ganzell whispered to her three week old daughter as she signed the charter on behalf of the alliance.

Kate Sullivan, currently a teacher within the county public schools, and treasurer of the CPCS Alliance, has been passionate about alternative education, and addressing achievement gaps, while remaining committed to public schooling. “This is a very important day in all of our lives,” she said. “We will move forward with such enthusiasm and energy, you have never seen before!”

The CPCS Alliance is holding a public information meeting on March 18, at Charlotte Hall Library.