Court upholds School District of Lancaster’s rejection of ABECS charter application

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Superintendent says case underscores need for charter school reform
Lancaster, PA — A Commonwealth Court decision upholds the rejection of a charter school application by the School District of Lancaster. The Academy of Business and Entrepreneurship Charter School application to open a charter school in Lancaster was rejected after the court determined fewer than 30 percent of signatures on a petition to appeal the school board’s initial rejection.

This ruling means ABECS cannot appeal SDL’s rejection of the charter application to the Pennsylvania Charter School Appeal Board.
The district says it invested hundreds of man-hours evaluating and considering the academy’s 2012 application. The application was overwhelmingly rejected by the School Board.

ABECS had plans to enroll 400 students in grades K-9.

“In 2013, ABECS submitted a second application, nearly identical to the first,” said Superintendent Damaris Rau. “The district was again forced to spend public resources to document the lack of an aligned curriculum, the lack of building safety plans, and the lack of community support.”

After the Board rejected the second ABECS petition, ABECS employed paid petition circulators in an effort to appeal SDL’s denial, among them a convicted criminal, according to the school district. The district says the three years of legal wrangling cost $539,175 in taxpayer dollars.

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