Pittsburgh Public schools recommends granting Hazelwood charter school request

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A Pittsburgh Public Schools review committee has recommended the school board grant a request from Propel Schools to open a charter in Hazelwood this fall, but it is not clear the board would agree when it votes Jan. 23.

At an agenda review meeting today, the board heard the recommendation for the K-8 charter school, which plans to open with 300 students in K-6 and grow to 420 in K-8. The proposal calls for housing the school in the former St. Stephen Catholic School building, which closed in 2005.

The review team said the Propel proposal met seven of nine criteria. The two not met concerned whether the school was innovative and could serve as a model.

Board members expressed concern about those criteria -- some saying those are the critical reasons for a charter school in the first place.

Hazelwood has been without a public school since 2006, when the district closed Burgwin.

Bricks-and-mortar charter schools are public schools that are chartered by a school district but operated by a separate board. Home school districts pay a fee set by the state for each student enrolled.

Propel operates other charter schools, including Propel Northside in the city.

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Education writer Eleanor Chute: echute@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1955.


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