The Pennsylvania charter school appeals board, which voted unanimously in October to close the New Hope Academy Charter School by Jan. 15, has scheduled a special meeting for Thursday to address the school's request for reconsideration.

Last week, attorneys representing New Hope filed documents asking the board to stay its decision for a mid-year closure.

New Hope has asked the board to allow the school to remain open "until the merits of this case are resolved on appeal, or until June 30, 2014, whichever date occurs later."

Siding with the York City School District, the board voted unanimously Oct. 15 to close New Hope by Jan. 15.

The appeals board issued a written decision Oct. 29 explaining its reasons, which opened a 30-day window for New Hope to file its appeal. The school's attorneys on working on an appeal to Commonwealth Court.

According to New Hope's request for a stay, school officials believe the board's decision will "cause irreparable harm to the charter school and to the rights and interests of hundreds of families, hundreds of students and over 60 educators."

The board will meet at 4 p.m. Thursday in Harrisburg to address New Hope's request, said Tim Eller, spokesman for the state Department of Education.

Thursday's meeting is open to the public. It will be held in the Honor suite of the Department of Education's office at 333 Market St.

District Superintendent Eric Holmes said Friday that the district will send representation to Thursday's meeting to argue against New Hope's request for a stay.


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"We are ready to accept these students back from New Hope as the charter appeals board has ordered. And we will be ready to do that on Jan. 15," Holmes said.

Since the board's Oct. 15 decision, the district has been publicizing a transition plan for New Hope students, hundreds of whom are likely to transfer to the district if New Hope closes. That plan includes re-opening a shuttered middle school and hiring staff members to accommodate the new students.

So far, the district has held two information sessions for parents of New Hope students.

But, at a meeting Thursday, only two parents showed up.

"I don't know why the turnout was so low. We were anticipating a larger turnout. We certainly would like to have a number of parents there so we can share the information," Holmes said. "But we are going to have as many meetings as we need. We would like to have more parents attend, and if we need to have one or two or three more meetings, then we will hold them."

- Reach Erin James at ejames@yorkdispatch.com.