- Associated Press - Thursday, April 27, 2017

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) - A local education nonprofit has sealed a deal to purchase a northwest Michigan elementary school, but operation-related details are still unclear and officials aren’t publicly discussing options.

The Old Mission Peninsula Education Foundation finalized a $1.1 million deal Wednesday to purchase Old Mission Peninsula School from Traverse City Area Public Schools, the Traverse City Record-Eagle (https://bit.ly/2ozSRvi ) reported.

Foundation officials are exploring ideas to either launch an independent charter school or collaborate with the district to provide services to the elementary school’s nearly 200 students following the closure.

A committee applied for the school to receive charter authorization through Grand Valley State University. The university’s deputy director of charter schools, Robert Kimball, said the application earned a second approval last week. The university’s board of trustees is expected to make a final recommendation about Old Mission’s future in July.

Foundation Vice President Corey Phelps said the foundation will pick a direction soon but will eventually make the final decision in a private meeting.

“We’re not going to discuss (authorization) at this point,” Phelps said. “There will be a school open in the fall of 2018. We’re working diligently on all fronts.”

Phelps declined to go into detail about a back-up plan should the charter authorization be denied amid a competitive charter market.

The charter application noted public concerns about the proposed school’s sustainability, curriculum and administration but said that those opinions are an “in town” minority and highlighted plans to aggressively market the school against its competition.

School district Superintendent Paul Soma assured that every teacher at Old Mission will be offered another position somewhere else in the district following the school’s closure.

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Information from: Traverse City Record-Eagle, https://www.record-eagle.com


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