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March 12, 2013

New Castle District: Administrators critique charter school documents

NEW CASTLE — New Castle Area School Board members plan to vote Thursday on whether to approve a charter school for the city.

The board’s deadline to vote on the New Castle Arts Academy Charter School’s request for a charter is Friday.

The board previously conducted two public hearings to gather information and hear testimony from the organizers of the school and the public.

Acting superintendent Stanley Magusiak told the school board at its public work session last night that the administrators and the district solicitor since then have gone through the application, the supplemental information and testimony, and highlighted what they felt are deficiencies, inconsistencies and shortcomings of the proposal.

This was done in preparation for the board’s vote, should the members reject the request for the application.

 Magusiak said they looked at financial, curriculum, special education and legal aspects, along with public support. They also determined where the document does not meet charter school law, according to Magusiak.

They prepared a four-page document that the district solicitor, Charles Sapienza, will be asked to incorporate into a document.

According to Sapienza, if the board members do not grant the charter, the district must provide the state Secretary of Education and the applicant with written reasons of why it is opposing the charter.

Debra Rice, organizer of the charter school, told the board at its public hearings that the school is considering one of three sites in the city — the former Day’s Inn and Banquet Center, the New Castle Regional Ballet Building on West Washington Street and the Cascade Galleria.

The school as proposed would have a fine arts-infused curriculum and would offer world languages such as Spanish and Chinese. The school would be for students in grades kindergarten through 8.

A community committee of the charter school includes co-chairs Dominique Karis and Cindy Biddle, and members Kenneth Cole, Leslie Michaels, Christina Stoner, Kimberly Koller-Jones, Becky Shields, Kiley Polio and Terrance Rice Jr., according to a Powerpoint presentation made at a previous hearing.

The board of directors for the school would be comprised of Cole, Biddle, Richard E. Rylott Jr. and Larry Macri, a local artist.

(Email: dwachter@ncnewsonline.com)

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