New Castle News

November 18, 2013

Charter school resubmits, eyes former hotel

Debbie Wachter
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — Organizers of the New Castle Arts Academy charter school have resubmitted their application to the New Castle Area School District.

Debra Rice, who has been overseeing the process, said the application was submitted Friday, this time with a pinpointed location.

She said the school would be located in the former Day’s Inn downtown, which the group would lease from owner Richard Hvizdak. She said the school has entered a lease agreement with him.

“We don’t plan on purchasing it,” she said.

No other details about the school have changed, she said, noting, “I thought we had everything pretty much nailed down the first time. It’s just a resubmission. We are entitled to a resubmission for them to look at and approve it.”

Because the charter school would be within the limits of the New Castle school district, the city school board would review the application and approve it or deny it.

“The district has 45 days,” to make a decision, Rice said.

The district also is entitled to conduct a public hearing on the matter, she added.

Rice and others are planning to open a fine arts-infused charter school and offer foreign culture and languages as well.

They had submitted an application to the school board about a year ago and, after two public hearings, voted down the application in March.

This time, a school board with different members will be voting on the charter school proposal, under a new superintendent.

Former acting superintendent Stanley Magusiak, district solicitor Charles Sapienza, business manager Joseph Ambrosini and other administrators had looked at the charter school’s first plan and cited for the school board several pages of what they believe were deficiencies in the application.

Based on those perceived shortcomings, they recommended the board deny the application.

Those cited inefficiencies included an undefined location and siting problems, budget issues and curriculum inadequacies, lack of community support, discrepancies in the advisory board and founding member lists and lack of funding allocations for support services.

Rice said at the time that the organizers would go back and address the points the district had identified.