Montessori program gains charter status

SUTTONS BAY, Mich. — Leelanau Montessori will become a public charter school this fall, authorized by Suttons Bay Public Schools and located at Suttons Bay Elementary School, the Traverse City Record-Eagle reported.

The Suttons Bay district had helped cover costs of the Montessori operation for more than a decade, seeing it as a feeder program to the district's own schools, the Record Eagle reported. In recent years declining enrollment, competition and budget pressures in the Montessori program as well as the Suttons Bay district led officials to consider discontinuing sponsorship, officials told the Record-Eagle.

Concerned about retaining the program and its teachers, a group of parents secured a $160,000 charter school planning grant about 18 months ago, which led to the new arrangement.

"We're still able to maintain our partnership," parent Hadley Vukasovich told the Record-Eagle. "It was kind of a win-win."

The Montessori school will operate with its own board and budget, and will pay 3 percent of its per-pupil state funding to Suttons Bay as an authorizer fee, the Record-Eagle reported.

Traverse City Record-Eagle, "Leelanau Montessori becomes public charter," Aug. 17, 2010

Michigan Education Digest, "Livonia considers charter school," June 20, 2010