Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

State Board's Inaction Affects Charter Schools Meeting Pushed Back for New Acting Chief

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

State Board's Inaction Affects Charter Schools Meeting Pushed Back for New Acting Chief

Article excerpt

Career Connections Charter School in Lawrenceville may remain open this fall despite the efforts of Pittsburgh Public Schools to close it.

Propel Schools won't open its Hazelwood school this fall despite its desire to do so.

And a charter school proposed for Duquesne this fall is in jeopardy.

All three have been awaiting word from the state Charter Appeal Board, but, with 14 cases pending, the Charter Appeal Board meeting scheduled for Tuesday was cancelled.

The board now is scheduled to meet on July 30.

Tim Eller, spokesman for the state Department of Education, said the meeting has been rescheduled until July 30 "to allow the acting secretary to get up to speed for his role as a CAB member."

Last month, Gov. Tom Corbett announced he was replacing state Education Secretary Ron Tomalis with William Harner, superintendent of Cumberland Valley School District in Cumberland County, effective June 1. Mr. Tomalis now holds a newly created position, special adviser on higher education.

Mr. Corbett appoints the chair of the appeal board. Mr. Tomalis had been the chair, but Mr. Eller said the governor "has to name the new chair."

The board of Pittsburgh Public Schools voted in March 2012 against renewing the charter for Career Connections, which opened in 1999 with grades 9-12. The board voted again against the renewal in August 2012 after conducting a hearing.

Various briefs and paperwork from both sides related to the appeal were filed by March, said Robert Max Junker, an attorney for the district.

At this point, city school solicitor Ira Weiss, said, "There might not be a decision on this case until the school year starts. ... It's unfortunate because we think there were significant issues brought out at the hearing."

Career Connections can continue to operate until the appeal board acts. If the appeal board rules against the school, it could appeal to Commonwealth Court. …

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