Source: Sherman Publications

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Central Michigan eyed for area charter school academy

by David Fleet

August 14, 2013

An area charter school moved one step closer this week as a phase one application is near completion.

The American Charter Educational Services (ACES) is nearing completion of the application to Central Michigan University on behalf of North Oakland Charter Academy (NOCA). ACES is a team of individuals, providing support services for charter schools and works with management teams, school boards and prospective founders.

Earlier this year a local founders board was established comprised of parents from the Ortonville Montessori, 258 S. Ortonville Road, to form NOCA. A local location for the future proposed school is yet to be determined; however, several possibilities are under consideration. Funding for the project is available through a series of grants.

Lorilyn Coggins, president of ACES, has been working to help establish NOCA in the Ortonville community.

"Right now we are nearing completion of applying for an authorizer," said Coggins. "Those authorizers are school districts, community colleges or a university. Once submitted, CMU typically has been taking about 30 days to respond. They (CMU) look for a need in the community, they want to know the group has the capacity to run the school effectively and the school will be more than just a good idea. CMU would make sure edu-cation standards are maintained, finances are taken care of and all the regulations are complied with."

"The charter school has to keep those standards or they are closed," she added. "They don't want to close the school, but about 27 have been closed over the last 20 years."

Coggins would not speculate on the chances for the NOCA to receive a charter.

If the authorizer is approved, grants applied for would provide funding for planning a charter school and for implementation. Grant funds can't be used on the building itself, so Better Choice Development groups will be holding numerous fundraisers and seeking donations from local businesses.

Jeff Maxson, a founding board member, said NOCA is expected to open in the fall of 2014.

"The need is there for a charter school in the Ortonville area," he said. "Other charter schools nearby have a waiting list to enroll this fall."

Maxson said NOCA is planning two classrooms per grade, with 18-20 kids per class with a total of about 240 students. The charter school would receive a state foundation allowance of approximately $7,000 per-pupil. Like other public schools, charter school teachers must be state certified.

For more information on NOCA, contact Todd Heimler at 248-933-4868 or Jeff Maxson, 810-240-2431.