Maine Charter School Commission Meeting - September 10, 2013


The Maine Charter School Commission held a meeting on September 10, 2013, at the Cross State Office Building, 111 Sewall Street, Augusta, ME.


Chair, Jana Lapoint, called the meeting to order at 10:15 a.m.


The following Members were present: Dick Barnes, John Bird, Jana Lapoint, Shelley Reed, Heidi Sampson, andAnde Smith.


Also present: Bob Kautz, Executive Director; Deanne Lavallee, Administrative Assistant; Mike Wilhelm, Commission Nominee; Judith Jones, MACS; Roger Brainerd, MACS; Noel Gallagher, Portland Press Herald.




A.  Moved by John Bird, seconded by Ande Smith, and unanimously voted by those present to approve the meeting minutes from July 30, 2013 as written.

B.  Moved by Dick Barnes, seconded by John Bird, and unanimously voted by those present to approve the meeting minutes from August 20, 2013 as written.


A. Chair, Jana Lapoint:

  • Jana reviewed the letters of intent and thanked the Commission for directing media inquiries to the chair or executive director.
  •  Jana thanked Dick Barnes for being on MPBN on September 5, and how well he represented charter schools in Maine and the Commission.
  • On the afternoon of October 8, MCSC nominees will go before the Educational and Cultural Affairs Committee.
  • The Commission reviewed LD 1361, An Act To Strengthen the Teaching of Writing and Mathematics and Improve Maine High School Graduates’ College and Career Readiness (Nelson of Falmouth).  The Education Committee will be taking this up again on October 8th.


B. Vice Chair, Shelley Reed - who asled Dick Barnes to report:


  • Dick Barnes described the RFP information session as an overview of the RFP held on the morning of August 20, with minimal questions from the few people who attended.  He spoke specifically on the 501C 3 status, impact on accepting funds if not yet obtained the status.  The Commission and Roger Brainerd discussed the “fiscal sponsorships” as a means to deal with the time lag of obtaining a 501C 3. 
  • Also, discussed were the perceived differences in the RFP with applicant instructions and evaluation criteria; cost of extracurricular activities, three percent to the Commission.


C. Executive Director:

  • Reviewed the Draft of the Commissioner’s Report; asked for improvements. 

Report was due August 31, received an extension of time for the MeANS report to be with it. 

  • RFP Evaluation Workshop 10/1/13 – Read application, documentation, evaluation. 

    NASCA Resources – Webinar, publications.
  • Discussion on capping of schools to be approved for opening September 2014.

Decision was not to cap number of schools; if 5 more are approved, may change discussion in the legislature regarding the cap through 2022.



Brief recess of meeting at 12:15 p.m.; reconvened at 12:45 p.m.




A.  Opening Days for Public Charter Schools

  • Shelley Reed was very enthusiastic, complete with posted photos, about Fiddlehead’s opening day on September 3.

  • Heidi Sampson reported that Harpswell’s opening day was a little chaotic primarily due to the timing of busses.

  • Jana and Bob attended the three different beginning days of Baxter Academy – one team building at Fort Williams Park, an in-service day putting together IKEA furniture at the school and the official “virtual” ribbon cutting at 54 York Street.

B. Annual Monitoring Results for MeANS

  • Dick Barnes gave an oral review of findings of MeANS and his progress developing the first draft of the report.

C.  Potential Review Teams for potential applications established.


D.  Monitoring visits to three new public charter schools:


Baxter:  Thursday, November 7, 9-3   Jana, Chair; John, Ande


Harpswell:  Friday, November 8, 9-3   Heidi, Chair; Shelley, John


Fiddlehead:  Tuesday, November 19, 9-3   Shelley, Chair; Jana, Laurie


Review Team meeting with Applicant – not a public meeting.

No presentation from Applicant; only questions from Review Team;

Virtual pre-interview – possible to “walk through the curriculum as seen by the student;”

Late December-Early January – prior to February 4th MCSC Meeting;

Review Team can decide whether to do a pre-interview or not.

Sarah Forster: Cannot tell Applicant how to make application better; Applicant clarify application only.

                  Sarah Forster notes: 

  • Needs to be very clear process, procedure for ranking;
  • Setting standard before looking at any application;
  • Policy that files are pristine; detailed to be defensible;
  • Have to have numbers with explanation as to why one member has a 5 and another member has a 2.
  • If irregularity, frank and honest discussion among reviewers;
  • Use reviewers’ comments to define what makes a rating of 1, 2 or 3, etc.
  • Initial notes are vital;
  • Basis for Commission vote;
  • Collect all Rubric Originals for files.


Expense Account Vouchers were turned in at the end of the meeting.




 Moved by Heidi Sampson, seconded byShelley Reed and unanimously voted by those present to adjourn at 2:30 p.m.