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December 10, 2012

New Castle board to consider charter proposal

(Continued)

NEW CASTLE — PUBLIC VOTE NEEDED

Rice pointed out that New Castle’s board vote on the New Castle Arts Charter Academy application must be taken at a public meeting.

Ambrosini said the board likely will discuss it at Monday’s public work session, which starts at 6 p.m., with a vote possible at its regular meeting Wednesday.

Should the board deny the application, it must provide an explanation of why it was denied, Rice explained. Then the charter school group would go into “revision mode” and amend the application and resubmit it.

If the school board approves the application, “we move on and prepare to open our doors in the fall of 2013,” she said.

Rice anticipates enrollment the first year to reach 156 students. Kindergarten would have 36, and grades one through eight would have 40 per grade level.

Then each year after that, 40 students will be added at each added grade level, with 20 per classroom.

Students in districts within a 10-mile radius would be eligible to enroll through a lottery-type system, after New Castle students get first choice, Rice explained.

Tuition at the charter school would be paid by the district hosting the child at a rate that district already receives in state subsidies. The respective school districts also would be required to bus the students to the charter school.

The Mohawk school district would be excluded because of distance, according to superintendent Kathleen Kwolek.

Ellwood City also falls outside the limits.

STANDARDS

Rice said that like public schools, the charter school would be required to meet the No Child Left Behind Act regulations of Adequate Yearly Progress and its student testing scores.

She contends no local school districts offer the same type of Renaissance curriculum, based strongly in the visual and performing arts.

“They offer art, but a lot of the districts are cutting art,” she commented.

It is the academy’s desire to work collaboratively with the New Castle district, she said, commenting, “We’re not the enemy. We’re just different in how we would approach education.”

(Email: dwachter@ncnewsonline.com)

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