The Charter Schools Advisory Committee, the group that certifies public charter schools on behalf of the S.C. Department of Education, voted to certify Coastal Montessori Charter School.
“There was a moment of exhilaration, like ‘Oh my gosh, they just said good luck and are giving us this nod,’ ” said Kristin Bohan, who chairs the planning committee for the school. “It’s a wonderful affirmation to know we have satisfied the state’s requirements.”
Plans for the school, scheduled to open in August 2012, have been in the works for 18 months. The application for the school had already been critiqued and corrected. Organizers spent two and a half hours answering questions about their application for the advisory group in May.
The committee still has a long way to go before the school can open.
Certification from the group is the first part of a two-part process for starting a charter school in South Carolina. The group now has to get approval from Georgetown County School District. Bohan isn’t sure when that might happen.
If approval is received, the district will become the school’s “authorizer.”
The school will be governed by its own board, but the district will have authority to renew or revoke the school’s charter based on the school’s success in upholding its mission.
Because Georgetown County is under a federal desegregation order, plans will also have to be reviewed by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Property for the school won’t be purchased until all approvals are received.
“Opening a new school is a marathon,” Bohan said. “We are definitely pacing ourselves.”