A new charter school in Baltimore County is one step closer to becoming a reality. The founders of Watershed Public Charter School say they have found a building for their school in Woodlawn.
“Our new building has plenty of green space and lots of potential!” a spokesman wrote on Facebook. The space is at 6946 Dogwood Road in Windsor Mill, formerly home to John Paul Regional Catholic School, which was closed by the Archdiocese of Baltimore last year.
According to its website, Watershed will open in fall 2019, serving grades kindergarten through third its first year and adding additional grades each ensuing year.
Charter schools are publicly funded and privately operated schools. Watershed will be only the second to exist in Baltimore County.
Securing the proper location is a watershed moment for the fledgling school. In September, the Maryland State School Board reversed a decision by the local board to deny the school a charter to operate.
The local board had voted against giving the school a charter because it had not signed a lease for a facility to house the school. Watershed’s leaders said they couldn’t sign a lease or get a bank loan to renovate the space until the school had a charter to operate.
The state school board said the county school system had put the school in an impossible situation — without the financing they couldn’t get a charter but without the charter they couldn’t get the financing.
The state board ordered the school system to give Watershed a charter to operate, but said it could deny the charter later if it failed to find a facility and secure the financing.
The founders of Watershed Public Charter School say they will emphasize hands-on learning, creative expression and outdoor experiences. They envision a school with a working farm where children learn about plants and animals.