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Loudoun School Board renews Middleburg Charter School’s contract

The Loudoun County School Board on Tuesday renewed the Middleburg Community Charter School's contract for five years.

The K-5 charter school, the first in Northern Virginia, opened in 2014. Its lease was due to expire June 30.

The charter school's original renewal request was strictly for five consecutive years. But School Board member Eric Hornberger (Ashburn) inserted a condition on the renewal.

Hornberger proposed a motion to renew the lease for five years on condition the school achieves full accreditation in Standard of Learning tests for the next two years. If the school doesn't, the renewal would only be for three years. Hornberger's motion was seconded by Jill Turgeon (Blue Ridge).

The caveat was put in place in part because MCCS failed in its first year to meet accreditation standards in science. Before voting, Chairman Jeff Morse (Dulles) said the school had worked through its difficulties from the first year. The most recent test results put MCCS among the highest in the county.

In a previous meeting, Joy Maloney (Broad Run) said she didn't see what the charter school does that a regular school doesn't. She reiterated a similar point shortly before the vote.

In response, Turgeon said, “It's not that the other schools can't do it, it is they are not doing it.”

Turgeon went on to say MCCS meets the needs of its community as do all other LCPS schools in different ways.

Speaking after the meeting, MCCS Board of Directors Chairman Bob Liscouski said the conditional five-year contract offered by the board was reasonable.

“This is is a new effort by everybody, so they just want to make sure they are practicing good governance and we are achieving the expectations that they want,” Liscouski said, adding he was confident they would make the grade.

Charter schools have greater flexibility in how they meet state and federal guidelines.

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