Charter School Postpones Opening Until Fall 2014

The Founders Academy Charter School had hoped to have a mid-year opening, starting classes this coming January, but Founder’s Academy Foundation founder Thomas Frischknecht said they faced a couple of setbacks that made a fall 2014 opening more appropriate.

“We very recently made a change to a fall, regular school start,” Frischknecht said last week. “We were on track for some time (to open in January) but we are experiencing some difficulties finding a suitable sized building in the Londonderry limits.”
Frischknecht said they had been close to getting a building and are still “in open negotiations on it.
“The bottom line,” he said, “is that it is taking longer than we expected because of several reasons – one is the building search and the other is that it took longer to secure the federal start-up grant.”
He said that when the school’s charter proposal was approved by the state, the organizers applied for a federal start-up grant.
“That’s the process – you get approved by the state and the state board of education, then you apply for the start-up grant that is available for New Hampshire charter school start-ups,” he said. “That was approved mid to end of September and that’s when we started to receive the initial funds, so it got really tight to find a suitable location and suitable people to help us finalize the curriculum, those types of things. There are so many things that have to be done.”
He noted that school management software has to be set up as well.
“It’s a laundry list of things,” Frischknecht said.
He recalled that a charter school in Nashua opened in a hotel room, with students sitting on the floor, because the school opened just three months after receiving state approval. “We don’t want to repeat that,” Frischknecht said.
Frischknecht said the organizers evaluated the pros and cons of a January start, which had been their goal, but said “it just became not smart.
“A fall start is a better thing to do anyway,” he said. “It’s difficult for some children and families to start in the middle of the school year, and it would have been in a reduced capacity because of that difficulty. I expect quite a bit more interest with a regular school year start.”
Frischknecht said the school has a Facebook page and is in the middle of developing a new website to go online in about a month. He said that in a month and a half, the admissions process will begin.
According to its website, the curriculum for grades 6-12 will focus on a classical education, including studies in leadership, history, ethics, debate, business and finance, classical literature, and the standard high school curriculum of math, science, languages and the arts. Students will study the thinking of the American Founders and other great philosophers of liberty.
As a public charter school, admission is free to New Hampshire students.
A short list is being maintained of interested students, and parents can go to a link on the website for the online process to enroll their students with the school. The current web site is www.thefounders academy.org.

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