The Washington Post

Prince George’s charter school renegotiates contract to remain in Upper Marlboro

It looks like a charter school operated by Imagine Foundation in Prince George’s County will stay put.

Imagine Leeland Public Charter School, which is currently based in an Upper Marlboro church, had asked the county Board of Education to lease a vacant elementary school in Forrestville to better accommodate its programming.

The request resulted in a public outcry, with parents criticizing school leadership for giving them a week’s notice before the school board was scheduled to make a final decision on the move to Berkshire Elementary School.

Parents said they are happy with the education their children are receiving at Leeland, but might have considered other options if they knew the school would be moving to Forrestville, a neighborhood some parents described as unsafe.

After parents complained to board members, the board decided to delay its decision.

On Thursday, Shawn Toler, the regional director for Imagine Schools, said Leeland was renegotiating with its landlord, and it appeared likely the school would stay at St. Barnabas Church.

Board Chairman Segun Eubanks said the item was removed from the agenda because the school was in negotiations that would likely have “promising results.”

Toler had previously said that the church did not have adequate bandwidth to allow the charter to test students “effectively.” Internet providers have estimated it would cost $75,000 to $150,000 for service to the building, Imagine officials said.

The charter school has limited space and restricted use of the church, which has placed “limitations on its academic achievements and programs,” Toler said previously.

Toler said Thursday that the landlord was addressing the problems with the bandwidth.

Eubanks said he was pleased the issue appeared to be resolved and thanked Toler for his “responsiveness, and working with the board and the families.”

Ovetta Wiggins covers Maryland state politics in Annapolis.

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