The panel of Arkansas Education Department officials
that reviews charter school applications
gave its approval today for the Rockbridge Montessori School in Little Rock
but disapproved another try by organizers of a charter school in Redfield.
The Montessori school will be operated at 108 W. Roosevelt in facilities leased from St. John Baptist Church and serve up to 325 students in grades K-8, but 150 in K-5 the first year. Its pitch was the Montessori style of instruction, currently available only in local private schools. This will be open enrollment and taxpayer supported. The Walton Family Foundation
is providing $220,000 for first-year costs. The school anticipates 70 percent of its students will qualify for free- and reduced-price lunches, a measure of family income.
The paneldidn't approve the open-enrollment Redfield Tri-County Charter School
in the White Hall School District. It proposed to teach 375 students in grades 5-12 in a former public school building in Redfield. Its application had been tabled earlier so that applicants could address deficiencies including a request for support of its argument that the smaller school could be beneficial in reducing dropout rates of disadvantaged students.