Seven Oaks Classical School envisions a place where students are given a liberal arts and sciences education — where students will learn Latin and cultural literacy in addition to the traditional reading, writing and arithmetic.
But first they need a building, a headmaster, teachers and students.
The school board has received two submissions for headmaster, said board member Lindsey Weaver on Tuesday night at the charter school’s first public board meeting. She said they plan to hold interviews and arrive at a decision in the next three weeks.
Once that position is filled, the search for teachers will begin.
Weaver said a request for teachers will go out within the next month.
Seven Oaks will be looking for teachers at the Hillsdale College Classical School Job Fair later this month, Weaver said.
“Some local teachers are cautiously looking at employment at the school too,” said board member Fred Prall. “It’s possible that currently employed teachers will be interested in moving to teach at Seven Oaks.”
Open enrollment for the charter school, which has been the subject of controversy in recent years, began Feb. 1 and will end March 17.
Right now, 65 children have been pre-enrolled from Monroe, Lawrence, Owen, Morgan and Clay counties, board member Terry English said.
“As we thought, this is not just Monroe County students, and I think that’s important,” Prall said. “I’m excited about the results so far.”
The school board’s target number for enrollment is 459 students.
English also said he’s hopeful about Seven Oaks opening this August, despite the challenges of finding a location for the school. ‘They’ve had one “focal location’ in mind for a while,” he said. “But we thought we would look at other alternatives, so we have four.”
One location is an old manufacturing plant, another a former university facility.
The locations ready to be moved into have only long-term leasing options, and that’s not what the school wants, English said. The board wants to buy its own facility and renovate it instead of answering to a lease.
English said all are within Monroe County and within 15 minutes of Bloomington’s city center. He said they want Seven Oaks to be on the west side, because there is more of a demand in that area.
“We’ll be making a decision within the next two to three weeks about what site we’re going to use,” he said.
The issue is money. The state will provide Seven Oaks with funds based on the number of students it has, but English said the board won’t know those numbers until the enrollment period is done. Until then, they won’t know how much they have to spend either.
“We have an awful lot of chicken and egg questions we’re trying to deal with in a very short period of time,” he said. “We’re optimistic."
Correction: A previous version stated Seven Oaks will be advertising in places like IU’s School of Education, the Monroe County Public Library and public schools. The IDS regrets this error.