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May 15, 2015 12:00 AM

NH1 News Investigates Save Our Schools: Sanborn Regional School District declines to renew Seacoast Charter School's lease


KINGSTON – They are fighting to keep their school open as hundreds of students at the state's longest running charter school have no idea where they'll wind up next school year.

This happened after the Sanborn Regional School District decided not to renew the Seacoast Charter School's lease.

Now the big question, just where these hundreds of kids and dozens of staff members go?

“It's, It's scary,” says parent Kelly Arp. It's overwhelming.”

Arp, along with her three children who go to the school, enjoy a nice afternoon out on the swing set in the backyard of their Freemont home.

But inside mom’s mind, like so many other parents, Kelly finds herself in a big-time dilemma.

“I don't know what we would do if we were not here next year,” she says.

Her three kids have gone to Seacoast Charter School for year.

That is, until the end of this school year.

Her oldest, Tristan, is one of nearly 250 children who might just have to go somewhere else next year.

“Sad, Tristan responded when we asked him about going somewhere else. Adding, “I don't know.”

The school district saying the building has long-term fire and safety code issues but Seacoast officials offering to pay for it.

The response?

“We got shot down,” says the Head of School at Seacoast Peter Durso.

And when asked if that made sense, Durso says, “Exactly.”

It’s not only parents, but Durso who’s questioning the school district's ruling.

“I'm not sure in this decision children were kept in the forefront,” says Durso.

But the Superintendent of School saying they gave Seacoast a one-year extension and plenty of notice and now, he says, they’re scrambling at the last minute.

“We had never thought we'd be up against the wall,” says Durso.

Not so says Durso.

They've been searching since last year, he says.

One location they hoped to move into fell through but now a glimmer of hope, he says, for a building in Stratha,.

But here’s the catch.

They will need to fork over $125,000 by the end of the month and another $125,000 by September.

The rent, Durso says, a whole lot more.

But the alternative?

“If we don't raise the money, then we close our doors,” says Durso.

And that leaves Tristan hoping to find a new building, saying, “I definitely wouldn't like it. I really like this school.”

While his mom, Kelly, wonders, what’s next.

“You always want what's best for your kids,” says Kelly. “I don't know what we're going to do. I really don't.”

The school’s kindergartner’s made a Facebook video, singing to the tune of “Wrecking Ball, asking the public for help.

They have also created a donation page if you’d like to donate.


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