(JTA) — Two non-denominational Baltimore Jewish day schools will close at the end of the school year to make way for a new one.
The Shoshana S. Cardin School and the Day School at Baltimore Hebrew announced Wednesday that they will close at the end of the school year and on July 1, The Independent Jewish Academy of Baltimore will open in their stead, the Baltimore Jewish Times reported.
The academy will be a coeducational, college preparatory school for grades K through 12. It will be affiliated with RAVSAK: The Community Day School Network and the National Academy of Independent Schools.
Plans for the new school have been in the works since September, when the existing schools were undergoing strategic planning processes and decided to work together, according to the newspaper.
The academy will be modeled after successful liberal day schools in other communities such as the Leo Baeck Day School and the Anne and Max Tanenbaum Community Hebrew Academy, both in Toronto; the Gann Academy and Jewish Community Day School, both in Boston; and the Pardes Jewish Day School in Phoenix, Ariz.
David Prashker, who was hired earlier this year to direct the Cardin School, will head the academy. Prashker reportedly has authored poetry that he posted on the Internet featuring sexual themes and violence, and containing foul language, according to the newspaper.
The academy risks losing some communal funding: According to the by-laws of a matching grant program for scholarships, the funds can be awarded only to schools that have existed for a minimum of three years.
One hundred students are enrolled in the two existing day schools, and the new school has plans to increase the number to between 150 and 200, according to the Baltimore Jewish Times.