MCPS Recommends One of Two Charter School Applications

Montgomery County Public School’s Board of Education reviewed two requests for charter schools Tuesday and will vote on whether to accept them at its July meeting.

MCPS staff recommended, with conditions, the approval of The Mentoring Business Learning Institute (MBLI). The school’s plan focuses on business education for students in middle through high school, although its plans call for only opening grades six and seven for 200 students in its first year and adding an additional grade each ensuing year.

MCPS staff did not recommend approval of the Washington-McLaughlin Charter School for Boys Inc. and The Washington-McLaughlin Charter School for Girls Inc., which would operate as a single school with separate classes for boys and girls.

MBLI, which would be located on Tech Road in Silver Spring, will operate with the mission that students need to be financially literate regardless of their future career and life choices, explained LaChaundra Graham, the school’s founder. It hopes to open in September of 2022.

MCPS staff approved the plans while recommending it conduct a survey to make sure there is enough interest in the nearby community and that they more specifically explain how they plan to raise adequate funds. MBLI received a $1 million start up grant from the state.

The Washington-McLaughlin proposal was presented by Pauline Washington, the school’s founder and president. She noted the school would offer the same subjects taught by many of the same teachers, but separately by gender. The school would operate from kindergarten to fifth grade.

Kenneth Marcus, MCPS’ charter school liaison, noted that the building in Takoma Park that this charter school plans to use has been vacant since 2012 and is in bad condition. It would need extensive repairs, yet the school’s application showed “no clear plan” to pay for the work. He also noted that the application had not changed very much since the first time it was submitted.

Washington said she is working with Takoma Park to obtain a grant to cover the cost of some of the repair work.

While BOE members spent a great deal of time questioning and listening to MBLI’s presentation, they barely questioned Washington during their June 29 business meeting.

There currently are no charter schools operating in the county.

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