Lancaster school board denies controversial charter school application

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The School District of Lancaster school board denied the application of the Academy of Business and Entrepreneurship Charter School at its meeting Tuesday.

The decision comes after a series of heated public hearings on the school’s proposal.

“I’m happy. We’ve dodged a bullet here,” said Therese Deslippe, a junior at McCaskey High School.

Deslippe attended a prior hearing discussing the proposal for ABECS and didn’t like what she heard.

“At the meetings, the lack of transparency on the board’s application, other flaws in their curriculum, made me realize that it’s not a school kids should go to,” she said.

Members of the Lancaster school board agreed with Deslippe.

“The Academy of Business and Entrepreneurship has failed to satisfy the requirements of the charter school law,” said SDL attorney Robert Frankhouser in a prepared statement read at the meeting.

Lancaster City Schools Superintendent Pedro Rivera said the school board found many flaws in the proposal.

“Not necessarily, maybe having the full support of the public. Secondly, some deficiencies within the academic and instructional criteria of the application,” he said. “And just many questions and many holes regarding the application.”

Local businessman Sait Onal is on the ABECS board of directors. He said they’d hoped to offer an alternative to Lancaster’s public schools, with a business focus.

“The business world getting involved, sponsorships, people, local businesses wanting to part of the education process, giving internship opportunities down to the kids,” Onal said.

Onal said despite the school’s very vocal opponents, about 120 families pre-registered their children.

He and the rest of the ABECS board plan to review the issues pointed out by the school board in their proposal an decide where to go from there.

“I believe in education, I have children, and I think we can make a difference in the community,” he said.

The school board pushed back a vote to renew the charter for another school, La Academia Charter School.

That vote is planned for the next school board meeting in April.

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