UP­DATE: Ex­pand­ing Md. Char­ter School Is Run­ning Out of Space and Time

The Washington Post Sunday - - Metro Week -

Two years af­ter it opened, the fledg­ling char­ter school KIPP Har­bor Academy is des­per­ately look­ing for a place to hold classes next year. KIPP of­fi­cials lob­bied the Anne Arun­del County school board in the past week to let them move into un­used space at An­napo­lis Mid­dle School, but board mem­bers ex­pressed strong re­luc­tance.

KIPP, a na­tion­wide sys­tem that stands for the Knowl­edge Is Power Pro­gram, opened its Anne Arun­del school in 2005 with 60 fifth-grade stu­dents, and grade six was added this school year. In the fall, the school plans to en­roll sev­enth-graders but has run out of space at its cur­rent lo­ca­tion — four bor­rowed class­rooms on the Edge­wa­ter cam­pus of So­journer-Dou­glass Col­lege.

Since last year, KIPP of­fi­cials have tried to per­suade the school board to let them rent space at An­napo­lis Mid­dle School, which has ca­pac­ity for more than 1,400 stu­dents but has more than 900 va­cant seats.

At a pub­lic meet­ing Wed­nes­day, school board mem­bers asked ques­tions and pointed out prob­lems such an ar­range­ment might cause. Some of the space is be­ing used by re­source teach­ers and other pro­grams, some said. An In­ter­na­tional Bac­calau­re­ate pro­gram, Mid­dle Years, is to de­but at An­napo­lis Mid­dle and might draw more stu­dents to the school.

An­other fac­tor, board mem­bers said, is con­struc­tion planned for com­ing years at other An­napo­lis schools, whose stu­dents might have to move tem­po­rar­ily to An­napo­lis Mid­dle.

“Yes, the space might be there for next year, but af­ter that it may not,” board mem­ber En­rique Me­len­dez said. “What we don’t want is for KIPP to move in for a year [and] not be able to find any­where to go af­ter that, and then we would be put in the po­si­tion of look­ing like we might throw them out.”

Andy Smar­ick, vice chair­man of KIPP’s board of direc­tors, said that his school has tried for two years to find an­other site but that the cost and size of sites have been pro­hib­i­tive.

“We’ve looked and done our due dili­gence,” he said. “There are so many things go­ing great for the school now. But if we can’t find space for next year, we’re go­ing to be fac­ing a lot of tough de­ci­sions about the fu­ture of the school.”

— William Wan

Andy Smar­ick says school of­fi­cials have looked for a new site for two years.

BY JAMES M. THRESHER — THE WASH­ING­TON POST

KIPP Har­bor Academy is now in four bor­rowed class­rooms at a col­lege in Edge­wa­ter.

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