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Education: Montessori charter school starts enrollment next month

A Montessori charter school that plans to open at Pawleys Island in August 2012 will begin enrolling students next month.

Coastal Montessori Charter School estimates it will have an enrollment of 120 students in grades one through six. The application period opens Oct. 3 and runs through Dec. 15, said Michael Cafaro, director of special programs for the Georgetown County School District.

Charter schools receive public funds, but have their own boards. Coastal Montessori will be a school within the county district. It will lease seven classrooms at Waccamaw Middle School for its first year.

The school must also be approved by the U.S. Justice Department under a court-ordered desegregation plan that dates to the 1970s. The district notified the Justice Department in July that the school board had approved the charter application, but has not heard from the department, Superintendent Randy Dozier said.

A key issue in approval will be the racial mix of the charter school enrollment and that won't be known until parents sign up their children. The estimate of 120 students is based on letters of interest signed by parents during informational meetings held around the county by the school's organizers earlier this year.

Information about the school is available on its website.

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