Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

City Rules against Charter School Officials Say Career Connections Doesn't Meet Requirements

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

City Rules against Charter School Officials Say Career Connections Doesn't Meet Requirements

Article excerpt

The board of Pittsburgh Public Schools Wednesday night voted unanimously against renewing the charter of Career Connections Charter High School in Lawrenceville, which opened in 1999 and has 245 students.

The board followed the recommendation of a review team that concluded the grade 9-12 school doesn't meet all of the conditions of its charter, doesn't meet requirements for student performance and doesn't provide expanded choices or serve as a model.

The next step will be a public hearing, yet to be scheduled, during which both sides will present their cases. Then, after a 30- day public comment period, the board will vote again. The charter school then will have the right to appeal to the state. The school will remain open during this process.

After the vote, Tim McElhone -- chief executive officer of Career Connections, who attended the board meeting -- said, "It's disappointing. We thought we had presented enough information to the board that they would vote to renew the charter."

He said, "If you look at it in the grand scheme of things, it's just another reduction in choice for families and children."

He said the fact families choose the school is the "real test" of the school's viability.

He is hoping for approval on the next vote, but, if not, he said the school will appeal to the state.

After the meeting, board President Sherry Hazuda said, "It's sad."

She said students have chosen to go to Career Connections, "but we're responsible for making sure they have a good education. We have to, overall, watch out for them."

The board also voted unanimously Wednesday to renew for five years the charter of the City Charter High School, Downtown, which opened in 2002.

Charter schools are public schools that have their own school boards, but -- as brick-and-mortar schools -- they receive their charters from a school district. Home districts pay an amount set by the state for each student.

Since the first Pittsburgh charter schools opened in 1998, the number located in the city has grown to nine. …

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