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September 26, 2018

Conrad O’Brien client, Watershed Charter School, granted charter to operate in Baltimore County

On September 25, 2018, Conrad O’Brien client Watershed Public Charter School was granted a charter to operate in Baltimore County. The Maryland State Board of Education reversed the Baltimore County Board of Education’s denial of the charter application, marking the first time that a Maryland charter school appeal before the State Board resulted in a complete reversal without a remand.


The reversal sets forth new precedent that, assuming an application is sufficient in all other areas, the local school board must grant contingent approval of a charter so that the applicant can secure a school facility. Watershed’s charter application was initially denied because it could not obtain a facility without charter approval. In reversing, the State Board allowed the charter school to open as long as it can find a space to operate within the next two years.


According to a report in The Baltimore Sun, Jessie Lehson, one of the school’s founders, said of the approval: “We are thrilled to move forward and ready to get to work on building our community and our school.” Watershed would be only the second charter school to open in the county.


Conrad O’Brien represents and advises schools in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland, from the application drafting process through startup and ongoing operations. Pat Hennessy and Simran Dhillon represent Watershed Public Charter School in this matter.