The would-be founder of a proposed York City charter school has decided to take her case to the next level.
Cynthia Dotson, whose application for a charter was rejected last week for the third time since 2012, said she will appeal the York City School District's latest decision to the state.
"We want an opinion, other than the York City School District's opinion, about what the strengths and weaknesses are of the application," Dotson said Monday.
Dotson said she had also considered submitting a fourth application to the district. But, she said she's lost confidence in that process.
It is unreasonable to expect the district to approve a charter for the Championship Academy of Distinction "when the district is fighting for its survival," Dotson said, referring to the state-mandated financial recovery plan that cannot be successful without the return of charter-school students.
Dotson said approval of a Championship Academy charter is "only a matter of time."
If the state agrees with the district and denies the application, Dotson said she'll use that feedback to craft a fourth proposal.
The district's school board unanimously denied Dotson's application Wednesday. Board members did not discuss the matter before or after the vote, but the board's attorney gave a brief explanation for the denial and said the district will provide the applicant with a full report explaining the decision.
On Monday, school board president Margie Orr said the board did its homework and based its decision "on the evidence that was presented to us."
For example, she cited reports from several district administrators, who reviewed the application and ultimately recommended that the board deny the charter.
Orr said it would be irresponsible for the board to nonchalantly award charters to for-profit schools funded by taxpayer dollars "especially when there's really no need."
"What do they want us to do? Just say 'OK, you can open up a school?' What the heck?" Orr said. "We have to look out for the well-being of our children, first and foremost. Is this going to benefit our children?"
Orr acknowledged the potential litigation costs of a pending appeal, but said, "So what?"
"We're supposed to just give them the charter because it's putting a financial strain on the district? I think our taxpayers would be more angry with us if we did that because in the long run it would be costing us more money to fund a charter school than it would for us to go against the charter," she said.
— Reach Erin James at firstname.lastname@example.org.