The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania has upheld the York City School District Board of Director’s decision to revoke the charter for New Hope Charter School.
In an opinion written for the Court by Senior Judge James Gardner Colins, he writes the charter was properly denied for “failure to meet state academic performance requirements.”
The school board voted to revoke New Hope’s charter in 2012, before the school appealed to the Charter Appeal Board and eventually Commonwealth Court.
The board contended New Hope failed to meet student performance requirements. According to the court opinion, New Hope’s students’ PSSA scores in both math and reading were far below all Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) proficiency standards in all years of its existence, that New Hope’s proficiency rates were below the performance of the School District’s schools as a whole, and that New Hope’s curriculum was not in compliance with mandated guidelines.
The Court also found that New Hope violated the Ethics Act and the Nonprofit Law in its contract with the school’s founder Isiah Anderson. Anderson owns three companies that do substantial business with New Hope: Three Cord, Inc. (Three Cord), Three Court Youth Services, LLC (TCYS), and I. Anderson Real Estate. Section 1103 of the Ethics Act prohibits “any contract valued at $500 or more” between a “public official…or any business in which the public official…is associated” and “the governmental body which the public official…is associated,” unless the contract is “awarded through an open and public process, including prior public notice and subsequent public disclosure of all proposals considered and contracts awarded.”
The school board said New Hope’s board of trustees did not discuss or consider the terms of the management agreements, leases, and AEDY contract with Anderson’s businesses before approving them.
“We’re deeply disappointed by the court’s ruling, but this certainly is not the end of the road,” New Hope Academy High School Principal Don Trost said in a statement. “New Hope’s parents, staff and students are committed to protecting and serving the children in this community that we all love. Our focus remains on making on sure our children receive the great education they deserve.”
New Hope serves about 800 students in grades 5-12.
New Hope Academy administrators say they will hold a meeting for all students, families and staff to ensure they are well informed of all of their educational options moving forward.
Click here to read Senior Judge James Colin’s full opinion.