×

Hancock committee to study charter school option

  • Hancock Elementary School , Sept. 10, 2018 Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • Hancock Elementary School. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Monday, September 10, 2018 4:14PM

The town of Hancock is exploring the concept of starting a charter school, should the ConVal School District stop using the town’s elementary school.

Selectmen voted on Aug. 23 to establish a charter school study committee, which will help to research the feasibility of starting a charter school in the Hancock Elementary School building.

“I think there are some serious issues if a community doesn’t have a community school,” Selectman John Jordan said Friday. “If you don’t have young people moving into town, there are a lot of unintended consequences.”

ConVal’s school board voted on Aug. 21 to propose a consolidation of school buildings. The proposal could come before voters in March as a warrant article. 

The proposed plan would reorganize the district, creating two pre-K through 3rd grade elementary schools (one in Peterborough and one in Antrim) and two other schools in Peterborough – an upper elementary school serving grades four through six, and a middle/high school for 7th through 12th graders. 

Elementary schools in many ConVal towns – including Hancock – would no longer be used by the district. 

Jordan, who proposed the idea of the study committee, said a mission statement has been crafted and that the committee is currently searching for members to join. 

After the committee is formed, it will begin researching the process and details of acquiring a charter and creating a school.

A charter school is a publicly funded school that operates independent of the local school district. 

“I think we need to be prepared,” Jordan said. “As far as I’m concerned, put the warrant article out there. I hope it gets voted down… if it turns out they are going to close the elementary schools, we need a plan in place.”

Hancock Elementary School has been a vital aspect of the sense of community in town, Jordan said. 

“They aren’t taking enough consideration on the community issues,” Jordan said. “Hancock has a high level of volunteerism and a strong sense of community. Everyone I talk to – even people who hae never had children – says we need to have a local school.”

The committee has already found its first member in Hancock resident Stephen Decicco. 

Decicco, who recently retired, has over 30 years of experience in serving as a consultant for nonpublic schools. 

“I believe in community schools,” Decicco said. “… we don’t know what will happen with voting, [starting a charter school] could be a moot point.”

Decicco said he has already begun his research for the committee, looking at numerous laws related to charter schools.

“Charter school laws are very complicated,” Decicco said. 

Nicholas Handy can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 235 or nhandy@ledgertranscript.com. He is also on Twitter @nhandyMLT.