Schools Superintendent George Arlotto and Children’s Guild President and Chief Executive Officer Andrew Ross today announced that the opening of the Guild’s third Monarch school in Anne Arundel County will be delayed by two years while the parties focus on finding a location and implementing a program that would better serve students in the central and southern portions of the county.

The school had been planned to open in Glen Burnie next fall. The agreement, which will be formally amended and ratified by the Board of Education at an upcoming meeting, will also call for the school to open as a contract school serving students in kindergarten through fifth grade. The contract school approach will, among other things, allow AACPS to define school boundaries.

“We are continuing to explore additional avenues of school choice for our students and their families in ways that are prudent and practical, and that enhance the comprehensive educational program we offer,” Dr. Arlotto said. “Converting the school to a contract school will allow us to define the area from which the school could draw students similar to what we have done in west county with the Monarch Global Academy Public Contract School. That flexibility will provide the opportunity to address overcrowding issues at schools that would be located near this school.”

The launch of a charter or contract school is an option broached by the Annapolis Area Redistricting Committee recently. While the committee did not include such a recommendation in its final report, it did have significant discussion about the matter as a way to solve some of the issues – particularly at the elementary level – in the Annapolis cluster.

As part of the agreement, AACPS will assist the Children’s Guild in terminating a lease it signed for space for the new school in the Baymeadow Industrial Park in Glen Burnie, where the Guild’s first charter school opened in 2009. Dr. Arlotto said the school system expects to recoup most, if not all, of any money it may expend to do so because it will be able to reallocate more staffing positions to the contract school from existing schools through the definition of school boundaries.

Monarch will continue to operate its Glen Burnie charter school and west county contract school.

“The Guild and the school system have been incredible partners on a variety of projects for many years, and I am very pleased that will continue,” Dr. Ross said. “We have to move forward in a way that makes sense for all parties because, ultimately, that is what makes the most sense for our students.”