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North

Saugus

Charter school to open off site

Pioneer Charter School of Science in Everett, which was awarded a charter in February to open a second campus in Saugus, will begin its school year on Aug. 16 in the former Everett High School as workers build the school’s new facility in downtown Saugus.

The school plans to provide bus transportation to and from Everett to students from Danvers, Lynn, Peabody, Salem, and Saugus. Of the 180 students enrolled, 75 will come from Saugus, 65 from Lynn, and the other 40 from Salem, Peabody, and Danvers.

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“It’s not the ideal scenario but this is the best we can do right now,” said Barish Icin, the executive director of Pioneer, which opened its first school in Everett in 2007.

Students of the new charter school could be in Everett until the end of 2013, according to a representative of the Charter Schools Development Corp., which would buy the Saugus location at 97 Main St., oversee the construction of a modular facility, and lease the space to Pioneer.

A lottery was held last Monday for both schools. According to Pioneer spokesman Dominic Slowey, there are currently 137 students on the waiting list for the new school and 438 for the flagship school in Everett.

Slowey said all parents who submitted an application for their children to attend the Saugus school were notified before the lottery that the school will be opening in Everett. He said bus schedules are still in the works for all students — including those from Danvers, Peabody, and Salem — but buses will arrive in Everett at 7:30 a.m. and leave school at 3:40 p.m.

Icin said the new charter school will pay the city of Everett $8,000 a month to rent 12 classrooms and office space at the old Everett High and have access to the gym. With no cafeteria, students would be given packaged lunches to eat in their classrooms.

The lease in Everett is set up in three-month renewable increments and began on Aug. 1. Everett has been working on a reuse plan for the old high school complex, which is located at 538 Broadway.

The Saugus school, called Pioneer Charter School of Science II, is planned for a 2-acre Main Street site now owned by Grace Ministries Church. Icin declined to state the terms of the purchase or the project’s construction costs.

The new school will be modeled after the Pioneer Charter School of Science in Everett, which received its charter renewal from the state last year. It will begin with grades 7, 8, and 9 and will add grades 10, 11, and 12 in the next three years to reach a capacity of 360 students.

Michelle Liberati, a vice president of Charter Schools Development Corp., said the nonprofit, based in Maryland, currently serves as owner and landlord for more than 30 US charter schools.

“We are moving forward with the project with every expectation that we will be able to secure the financing and deliver the project by the end of the calendar year at the latest,” she said.

Icin said he expects that construction will begin in the fall and the first phase of the facility would open by November. The building is slated to be a prefabricated, modular 40,000-square-foot structure. The first phase would be about 15,000 square feet, and would include 12 classrooms, 10 offices, and a cafeteria. Icin said the second phase would be built by next summer and would include as many as 23 additional classrooms and a wellness center/gym.

Slowey said the new Saugus school would have smart boards in classrooms, Wi-Fi, and mobile computer labs along with new science and computer labs. Pioneer plans to pay for the lease with tuition it receives from communities that send students to the school.

According to Icin, the new school’s budget for the academic year will be $2.6 million, with 21 teachers and administrators hired

Like the flagship Pioneer Charter School in Everett, the school’s academic year will be 200 days — Aug. 16 to June 20. Classes will run from 7:30 a.m. to 3:35 p.m., and the school will offer tutoring and homework makeup until 5:30 p.m.

In addition, the school also will offer voluntary Saturday classes for students who want extra help. To graduate, students must pass the MCAS test, and also pass five math and five science classes, while also completing a senior project and a 40-hour community service assignment.

Steven A. Rosenberg can be reached at srosenberg@globe.
com
. Follow him on Twitter @WriteRosenberg.

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