City board urged to reject 3 charter schools

Staff makes recommendations ahead of Feb. 26 vote

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Pittsburgh Public Schools staff on Monday recommended that the school board reject three charter school applications.

The board will vote at its Feb. 26 legislative meeting on the proposed Homewood Children's Village Collegiate Charter School Community Campus, Provident Charter School for Children with Dyslexia, and Robert L. Vann Charter School. Superintendent Linda Lane said the vote usually reflects the staff's recommendation.

Teams of staff members reviewed the proposals, a public hearing on the charter schools was held Dec. 16 and applicants were interviewed in January.

Recommendations are based on a compliance checklist that evaluates such areas as curriculum, financial viability, community support and whether the school could serve as a model for other schools in the district. Each proposal for curriculum was deemed insufficient, and none of the schools was thought to be financially viable.

If all three charters are granted, the schools could cost the district $5.4 million in the first year and $17.1 million in the fifth year. School districts must review applications for various standards, but cannot consider their financial impact on the district.

Under state law, districts must pay for residents attending a charter school. That amounts to $12,871 for regular students or $27,923 for special education students in Pittsburgh, which anticipates spending $54.9 million on charter schools in 2014.

More than 3,600 city residents are enrolled in 30 charter schools, including 10 chartered by the district, 12 chartered by other districts and eight cyber charter schools Propel Schools also won approval from the State Charter School Appeal Board to open a charter school in Hazelwood this fall.

Lexi Belculfine: or 412-263-1878. Twitter: @LexiBelc.

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