Pittsburgh board to vote on 3 charter schools

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The board of Pittsburgh Public Schools is to vote Wednesday on three charter school proposals, all three recommended for denial by a review team.

Tonight's agenda review meeting included proposals from Homewood Children's Village Collegiate Charter School, Provident Charter School for Children with Dyslexia and Robert L. Vann Charter School.

However, little was said. Board member Regina Holley said she had received additional information from the Vann supporters and asked that other members receive it as well. She declined to say how she plans to vote.

Earlier this month, a district review team recommended rejecting all three applicants because they did not meet all of the items on an evaluation checklist.

The board is scheduled to vote on Wednesday.

Charter schools are public schools. The home school districts of students enrolled must pay a fee set by the state. In the case of Pittsburgh residents, the district must pay $12,871 a year for a regular student and $27,924 for one in special education.

In the current calendar year, $54.9 million of the district's $529.1 million budget is allotted for more than 3,600 students in charter schools.

As of the official fall enrollment, city residents were enrolled in 30 charter schools, including 10 chartered by the district, 12 chartered by other districts and eight cyber charter schools chartered by the state.

In addition, Propel Schools won approval from the State Charter School Appeal Board to open a charter school in Hazelwood this fall.

Last July, the school board granted a charter to the Hill House Passport Academy Charter School in the Hill District, which is expected to begin enrolling students this year.

Homewood Children's Village, which would operate in several Homewood locations, planned to start with 148 students in grades 6 and 7 and grow to 576 students in the fifth year in grades 6-12 and ultimately to 1,008 students in grades 6-12.

Vann planned to begin with 180 students in K-2, growing to 420 in K-6 in the fifth year in the Strip District and ultimately expanding to K-8. It planned to use the external management company of Athena Community Education Partners to help establish a microsociety curriculum.

Provident Charter School for Children with Dyslexia proposed starting with 96 students in grades 3 and 4 and growing to 336 students in grades 2-8 in the sixth year. The school planned to be in the current site of the Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic High School, which is moving to Cranberry.

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

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