The Leander campus once occupied by Summit Christian Academy was sold July 15 to public charter school Responsive Education Solutions, SCA school board president John Rothans said Aug. 6.
Summit officials have been in discussions to sell the property, located at 1303 Leander Drive, for several months. According to ResponsiveEd, the tuition-free Founders Classical Academy will likely open in fall 2014 as a kindergarten–9th grade campus with plans to add an additional grade level per year until the school offers classes through 12th grade.
Operating more than 60 public school campuses, the charter school system follows a classic liberal arts model with strong civic components. The original Founders Classical Academy and ResponsiveEd are based in Lewisville, near Dallas.
“We chose Leander—and the greater Austin area—as the site of the second Founders Classical Academy based on local parents’ desire for a more rigorous and classical option,” ResponsiveEd CEO Charles Cook said in a statement. “As an organization, we are very excited about the new school and our continued collaboration with Hillsdale College.”
The 14-acre school campus can serve around 300 students, all of whom will have an equal chance to attend Founders Classical Academy, said Thomas Terry, director of corporate marketing and communications for ResponsiveEd. The public charter school is funded by the state and is overseen by the Texas Education Agency.
"We go through an open enrollment period of 2 weeks to a month. If we get more interest than there is room at the school, then it goes into a lottery and names are drawn randomly."
Though the transaction amount was undisclosed, Rothans said proceeds from the property sale will be put back into the Cypress Creek campus in Cedar Park.
“We haven’t had school at that location for probably five years, when we combined and condensed our education into the one campus,” Rothans said. “Part of the proceeds from the sale of that campus we are remodeling and renovating. We are changing our curriculum focus to a STEM school.”
The concentration on science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, led SCA to adopt iPad-based teaching and learning methods at the high school level. Proceeds from the Leander campus sale also allowed the private school to add courses and equipment.
“With that shift in focus, we’ve added a second track for science, a separate science teacher and a separate lab. We will be teaching forensics and an extra biology [class],” he said. “We’ve also purchased and added two large instructional size telescopes and we’ll be teaching astronomy along with possibly having a monthly community star parties.”