York City School District presents allegations of non-compliance at charter school

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YORK, Pa. - A charter school is under fire from the York City School District amid allegations the school is not complying with the terms of its charter.

District officials laid out the case for the Helen Thackston charter school to take immediate corrective measures, but the school says it needs more time to fix all the issues raised.

York city school district officials presented a draft resolution to the school board Monday detailing a laundry list of allegations against the administrators at the charter school, from missing audits and reports to claims that the homeland security program promised at the school had not been developed.

“The reason that we're sitting here this evening is that there are a number of what we believe are significant and material problems that continue,” Allison Petersen, a solicitor for the York City School District, said.

Representatives from Thackston say they had trouble producing many of the audit documents from a change to independent management from Edison, a for-profit education management firm, delivering some of those documents hours before the meeting.

The lack of documentation led to the charter school losing its non-profit status, although school officials assured the district that no donations were accepted while that status has been revoked.

“We are educating these students, providing them with the best education that we can and we are striving to improve on a day-to-day basis,” Brian Leinhauser, a solicitor for Thackston Charter School, said.

Some parents and teachers went before the board to argue that the curriculum at Thackston is working.

“Students are really grabbing what they need to do after high school," Bryan Wade, a teacher at Thackston, said. "They are being nurtured and educated. Come by sometime and see; I promise you you'll be impressed.”

But some school board members questioned why the charter school needs more time to comply, saying they have had years to do so and have failed.

“If you're non-compliant, you don't have the documentation, then it didn't happen,” Michael Breeland, a York City school board member, said. “It didn't happen, so if they're going to right the wrongs, I think that if they really were considerate about doing that, things would have been put in in a timely manner.”

School administrators told the board they want the resolution demanding corrective measures to pass. The school board will consider that resolution at its next meeting on Wednesday.

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