New Castle News

Closer Look

December 13, 2012

Our Opinion: Charter school plan in city may present opportunity

NEW CASTLE — It’s too early to say if New Castle will be the site of a new charter school.

But we do know there is at least some interest locally in exploring alternatives. Local school districts already send funds to charter and cyber schools, because students take advantage of their options.

Now, a group is proposing the creation of the New Castle Arts Charter Academy. Backers say the planned charter school would emphasize such subjects as arts and languages.

Such a charter school would require the approval of the home district — New Castle — or authorization of the state. The New Castle school board has yet to review the request, but questions are being raised about how such a facility would take students — and funding — from the local district.

New Castle has the ability to reject the establishment of the charter school, but then the matter could be appealed to the state level. In the end, the establishment of any charter school would involve the ability of backers to organize and promote it, as well as public demand.

Obviously, there is an interest locally in what charter and cyber schools have to offer. Already, about 90 New Castle students take advantage of these facilities, mainly ones based in Beaver County.

If a charter school were established in New Castle, this number might increase. However, it’s also possible that — assuming a new school passed public muster — students would opt for a facility closer to home than ones in other communities.

New Castle isn’t the only school district dealing with the loss of students and their related state funding to charter and cyber schools. In some instances, districts have created their own cyber schools as a means of self protection. There is talk of this in New Castle.

But a key issue here is specialized education. If a charter or cyber school — focused on intensive studies in key areas — offers opportunities home districts cannot match, students interested in those subjects are likely to move on.

Perhaps there is an opening here for New Castle and surrounding districts to take the challenge presented by cyber and charter schools and meet it in a positive fashion. Why not work toward creating a regional cyber facility where all districts in the county cooperate?

By sharing resources, the districts might be able to offer a broader curriculum at a lower cost. At the same time, they would be retaining the students who are going elsewhere.

For a variety of reasons, charter and cyber schools create controversies in the public school system. But their growth demonstrates a public demand. Smart school districts will find ways to keep their students.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Closer Look
  • Yauger.jpg Yauger enters guilty plea in federal court

    The former executive director of the local intermediate unit has entered a guilty plea in federal court.

     

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lottery.jpg Lottery officials: Seniors should get smaller payout

    State lottery officials say less means more for seniors. The lottery took in $3.8 billion in sales last year and will give more than $1 billion of it — or 28.5 percent — to programs for senior citizens.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • phone.jpg Attorney general warns of phone scams

    Assorted scams in the commonwealth have prompted a warning from the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office. Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane said several scams have been reported to the Bureau of Consumer Protection in recent weeks.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • disability.jpg Disabilities group unveils new icon

    Disability Options Network is joining forces with the Accessible Icon Project. Officials of the community organization, located at 1929 E. Washington St., said its new icon will replace the current international symbol for accessibility.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • well.jpg Auditor: State doesn’t have enough inspectors to monitor wells

    The state’s 83 well inspectors face a daunting enough challenge keeping tabs on 120,000 active oil and gas wells that have been drilled over the last century.

     

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • vote.jpg Independent hopefuls may widen gubernatorial field

    Just when Pennsylvania voters were getting used to the idea of a gubernatorial election showdown between Republican incumbent Tom Corbett and Democratic challenger Tom Wolf, other hopefuls may soon be joining the fray.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • manna.jpg John K. Manna: Measuring the money

    Should we even bother to have an election in November? By some accounts, maybe the results of some contests are already in.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • shooting.jpg Man injured in city shooting

    A man was flown to a Pittsburgh hospital Thursday morning following a shooting on West Lincoln Avenue.

     

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • police.jpg Police: Man pulls gun on construction workers

    Construction workers in Neshannock Township flagged down police Thursday claiming a business owner had pulled a gun on them.

     

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Shooting.jpg Shooting witness arrested for giving false name

    State police have arrested a second Detroit area man after questioning him about Sunday’s fatal shooting in Ellwood City. DeMarco Dorian Hoskins, 22, of Highland Park, Mich., was the third man in a private car that transported the deceased to look for a hospital. Hoskins allegedly gave police a false identity when they questioned him as witness.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

House Ads
Seasonal Content
Section Teases
Must Read
Continuous Super Bowl Coverage