Propel gets green light to open in Hazelwood

Career Connections Charter remains in Lawrenceville

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Two charter schools were thrown lifelines by the state Charter School Appeal Board this week.

Propel Schools won its appeal to open an elementary charter school in Hazelwood next fall.

Career Connections Charter High School in Lawrenceville won permission to stay open while appealing its charter revocation to Commonwealth Court.

Propel plans to open with 200 students in K-4, growing to 400 in K-8. Exactly where it will be located hasn't been finalized.

Jeremy Resnick, Propel Schools Foundation executive director, said the first choice is the Burgwin building, which Pittsburgh Public Schools closed in 2006.

Jim Richter, executive director of the Hazelwood Initiative, said his organization has offered the sales price of $475,000 and wants to lease it to Propel.

Pat Morosetti, sales and leasing manager for Fourth River Development, which was hired by the district to market vacant school buildings, said "several parties" have expressed interest in buying Burgwin but currently there is "no transaction underway."

He declined to name who has expressed interest.

For each charter student, the home district pays a fee set by the state. Pittsburgh would have to pay at least $2.57 million for 200 students, growing to at least $5.1 million for 400 students if all came from the district.

Propel is accepting applications at propelschools.org. If too many apply, there will be a lottery.

Currently, Hazelwood has no schools.

In addition to Burgwin, the district closed Gladstone in 2001. A Catholic school, St. Stephen, closed in 2005.

Last month, the state Charter School Appeal Board upheld the decision of Pittsburgh Public Schools to revoke the charter of Career Connections, ruling that the school must close in January.

The Career Connections board last week voted to appeal to Commonwealth Court.

The state appeal board this week agreed to allow the school to remain open until the appeal is resolved.

Career Connections opened in 1999 and has 243 students. The school board voted tor evoke its charter for violating some of the provisions under which it was supposed to operate.

education - neigh_city - breaking

Education writer Eleanor Chute: echute@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1955. First Published October 16, 2013 5:56 AM


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