OSSIPEE — The creation of an agricultural-themed charter school was proposed to Carroll County commissioners recently by state Rep. Glenn Cordelli (R-Tuftonboro), who attended the county commissioners' meeting June 17 to propose the "Mountain View Agricultural Academy."
Cordelli said it could be located at the old Mountain View Nursing Home building, which is largely unused after Carroll County moved its seniors into a new building in 2011.
"This would be a charter school based on an agricultural curriculum," Cordelli said. "This is really an extension of the learning center concept that goes back to about 2016."
For years, county officials have been looking for ways to better utilize the old nursing home building and county farm lands.
In a slide show, Cordelli said that the county complex is the perfect location because there is an available building, open acres, a fiber optic network and is centrally located between Conway and Wolfeboro, the county's two largest towns.
A charter school, said Cordelli, is a public school that could possibly get federal start-up funding. As of now, the grant is being held up in the Legislature.
The Department of Education and the New Hampshire Association of Charter Schools are among the agencies that could provide guidance, he said.
Cordelli added the town of Ossipee would have to be supportive, and community interest would have to be surveyed. He would like to see interest from at least 20 prospective students to start the program.
Such a school could also offer public events, like farm to table meals and cooking lessons.
Cordelli also suggested that beginner farmers could be leased small plots of land.
Charter schools can be started by school district, non-profits, two or more teachers and 10 or more parents. Applications would go to the New Hampshire Department of Education.
Cordelli suggested that this school would teach students at the high school level and might have a school year that's aligned with the growing season, not the traditional school year.
"The first step would be, do the commissioners see this as a concept that should be continued to be explored," said Cordelli.
"We have to identify who are the project champions. Who are the people who are interested in pursuing the idea of a charter school?"
Commissioners' Chair Amanda Bevard (R-Wolfeboro) said that a few years ago, the commissioners established a county lands committee and they studied the learning center idea.
She said the committee had gone inactive about a year ago, and recently she has started getting the committee back together.
The committee includes Bevard, former state Rep. Mark McConkey of Freedom and Dale Drew of Conway.
"I would suggest as soon as we can get a meeting scheduled that you attend the meeting," said Bevard.
Commissioner David Babson (R-Ossipee) said it was a "good idea."