EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

July 20, 2013

Southern N.H. could see two new charter schools

State budget includes more than $3M in funding

Two new charter schools are expected to open their doors soon to students in Southern New Hampshire.

The state Board of Education granted approval Thursday for The Founders Academy, a middle school that will open in the Londonderry area in January, state board Chairman Thomas Raffio said.

Next month, the board will consider a proposed school in Derry — Granite State Academy for the Arts.

Raffio said he doesn’t see any obstacles that would prevent Granite State Academy from opening in August 2014. The high school would provide an arts-oriented education for up to 160 students, according to academy Chairman Wendie Leweck.

“They have said they are in support of our school,” Leweck said of the board.

The two academies are among four charter school proposals given new life when more than $3 million was recently approved as part of Gov. Maggie Hassan’s $245 million capital budget.

The state board decided last fall to not consider anymore charter schools because no funding was available. There are 17 across the state, with an 18th — Next School in Derry — to open this fall.

Two other charter schools were approved by the board this week — Gate City Charter for the Arts in Nashua and Mountain Village Charter School in Plymouth, Raffio said.

The Founders Academy received approval for up to 200 students, but is expected to open with about 100 in sixth and seventh grades, Raffio said.

The academy, whose board is led by businessman Thomas Frischknecht, will offer a curriculum that emphasizes the importance of leadership and self-discipline, Raffio said. Frischknecht could not be reached yesterday for comment.

The Founders’ website says the academy will provide a classical education and standard high school curriculum, while teaching students traditional American values. The website is thefoundersacademy.org.

“Students will study the thinking of the American Founders and other great philosophers of liberty,” the website says. “This historical foundation in principles and values will form young people with the knowledge, character and vision to be 21st century leaders.”

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