Maine Charter School Commission Meeting - May 1, 2012


The State Charter School Commission held a meeting on May 1, 2012, at the Cross State Office Building, 111 Sewall Street, Augusta, Maine. The following members were present: James Banks, Sr.; Richard (Dick) Barnes; Lynda Doyle; Jana Lapoint; Donald Mordecai; Shelley Reed; and William Shuttleworth.


Also present were: Deb Friedman, Department of Education



Chair, James A. Banks, Sr., called the meeting to order at 12:00 PM.


MOVED by Shelley Reed, seconded by Jana Lapoint, and unanimously voted by those present to approve the April 25, 2012 minutes as written.


Chair, James Banks, Sr.

  • None

Vice-chair, William Shuttleworth

  • None



  1. Chapter 1 – Commission Procedural Rules
    • Jim Banks shared with the Commission that, per the Attorney General’s Office, the Commission does not have authority to begin the formal rulemaking process on Chapter 1.  They must wait until the effective date of LD 1783, which is 90 days after the Legislature adjourns.
    • Don Mordecai stated that he would like the Commission to adopt procedures, not as rules, but as clear guidelines for its operation.
    • Don Mordecai suggested that SECTION 1 (4) be amended by adding the underlined language to the 2nd sentence, so that it reads as follows:  “The Commission chair or the Commission may also authorize other Commission members to represent and speak on behalf of the Commission.”  All members agreed.
    • There was a discussion about SECTION 2 (4) regarding Agenda.  There was a question about whether meetings should be divided between Workshops and Business Meetings and, if so, whether the procedures/rules should include language about that division.  There were no changes to the document, and it’s not clear which way members want to go from here – a unified agenda or divided into Workshop and Business Meeting.
    • There was a discussion about development of the Agenda.  Shelley Reed remarked that the Agenda belongs to the Commission.  Jim Banks says that he always asks for input on the Agenda items and includes whatever other members want to add. Jana Lapoint remarked that, at meetings of the League of Women Voters, the meeting starts with an Agenda item whereby members could make adjustments to the Agenda by consensus.  No change to the written document.
    • Members discussed SECTION 2 (5).  Quorum and Voting.  It was remarked that the Commission had decided at a prior meeting to require 5 affirmative votes to approve a charter school, which is inconsistent with SECTION 2(5), which simply provides for a quorum of 4 members.  Members voted to include language in 2(5) requiring 5 affirmative votes to approve a charter school application, notwithstanding anything in 2(5) to the contrary.  Members must be present to vote, which is implied in the current language stating that “Neither proxy nor absentee voting is permitted.”
    • With the changes noted above to SECTION 1(4) and SECTION 2 (5), the draft procedures for the Commission (titled “Rule Chapter 1” but not an official rule) were approved. 
  2. Planning for May 8th Meeting with Applicants
    • Members discussed how the meeting will be run.  Jim Banks will preside. 
    • Commission members want to make clear to applicants that they need to follow the application and the budget template carefully – not create a document organized or presented differently.
    • Commission members will refer applicants to the checklist in the Application Instructions. 
    • Commission members will explain the timetable, name the review teams, describe the decision-making process and take questions and answers.  If they can’t answer a question at the meeting, they will post the answer on the Commission website.
    • Follow-up:  William Shuttleworth is going to put together the list of items to be addressed at the meeting (based on the discussion) and will send the list to Jennifer Pooler.
  3. Consultants for Review Teams
    • Members discussed who they should have on their list of potential consultants to the review teams.  They are not going to offer compensation for this work.  They agreed to include outside experts, but that they may also call on other members of the Commission who have needed expertise to serve as consultants to review teams.  Jim Banks has the list of potential consultants. 
    • Follow-Up:  Jim Banks will get the list of possible consultants to Jennifer Pooler so that she can send letters seeking their interest. 
  4. Review of Timeline for Application Handling Process
    • Step 1.  William Shuttleworth verifies that application is complete (and determines which Review Team the application will go to).
    • Step 2.  Jennifer Pooler mails hard copy of each application to each Commission member. Jennifer Pooler sends an electronic copy of the application to each Review Team member for that application.
    • Step 3.  Review Team Chair is responsible for getting parts of the application to any consultants that will be needed for the review.  The consultants should get a copy of the Executive Summary of the application, as well as the section that are reviewing, so that they can have a general picture of the school without having to review the entire contract.
    • Step 4.  Each Review Team member reviews and rates the application assigned to that Review Team.  Review Team members then meet in person to discuss and vote on a recommendation to the full Commission. The recommendation doesn’t have to be unanimous.  The recommendation will be presented to the full Commission by the chair of the Review Team.  It may be a written recommendation, but in any case will need to be backed up by information from the review as to why the recommendation was made. 
    • Step 5.  The Full Commission convenes to discuss the recommendations of the Review Teams and to vote on whether applicants should move on to the next stage of review – the public hearing and interview.  This vote only requires a simple majority of members.
    • Step 6.  After the public hearings and interviews, the Commission votes.  Five affirmative votes are needed to approve a charter school.
    • Step 7.  A contract is negotiated between the Commission and each successful charter school applicant.  The contract must be signed at least 60 days before the school opens.
  5. Meeting Dates for Application Review and Approval
    • Commission members agreed to the following dates for meetings:
      • May 29th - 10 am to whenever (2 or 3 pm) – Full Commission hears reports from Review Teams and determines whether applicant proceeds to the hearing/interview process.
      • June 5th - Based on an expectation of 2 applicants from the Skowhegan area, the Commission will hold its regular business meeting in Skowhegan from 9 to 10 am.  It will then, for the first applicant, hold a public hearing from 10 to 11 and an interview from 11 to 12. Then it will hold a public hearing from 1 to 2 on applicant #2, and an interview from 2 to 3.
      • June 6th - Hold for additional public hearings or interviews if needed
      • June 7th - Based on expectation of 2 applicants from the Portland area (possibly including a virtual charter school applicant), hold a similar set of hearings/interviews as in Skowhegan, starting at 9 am for applicant #1 and 1 pm for applicant #2.
      • June 11th - Commission will meet to vote on approval of applications. ( 9 am to noon)


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MOVED by Shelley Reed, seconded by Jana Lapoint, and unanimously voted by those present to adjourn the May 1, 2012 State Charter School Commission meeting at1:50 PM.

Transcribed by Jennifer Pooler (with assistance of notes provided by Deb Friedman).