Supporters trying to overturn the order closing York City's New Hope Academy have one option left.
Tuesday's Commonwealth Court ruling was yet one more nail in the school's coffin, affirming earlier decisions from both the York City School District and a state-level appeals board not to renew its charter.
Next up would be the state Supreme Court, although New Hope officials have not said if they intend to appeal and the high court doesn't have to hear the case even if they did.
As difficult as it might be for the students, parents and staffers who have fought passionately for their charter, it's time they start preparing for what seems increasingly likely.
New Hope probably won't exist in August.
The city school district denied the school's application for a charter renewal in 2012, citing a laundry list of academic failures, alleged charter violations and unethical financial practices.
When the state Charter Appeals Board upheld that decision last October and ordered the school closed Jan. 15, we argued for time.
While the allegations were serious, we suggested that requiring 750 students to switch schools mid-year and on short notice would almost certainly have a negative effect on their education as well.
It wasn't even clear if the York City School District would have been prepared to accept them in such a short time frame. It had closed its two, half-empty middle schools the year before and one would have had to reopen to accommodate the influx of new students.
The appeals board later agreed, allowing New Hope to remain open for the remainder of the school year.
It gave everyone time to properly plan for the transition.
The school district has been using that time, planning for the reopening of Hannah Penn Middle School and the hiring of 27 teachers and 18 administrative or support personnel to staff the building.
The charter school should have been doing the same — hope for the best, but plan for the worst, if you will.
Maybe that's been happening. But if it has, it has been behind closed doors.
We hope so.
Everything we've heard publicly has had to do with the battle to keep New Hope's doors open. Nothing has been said about preparing the students for the very real likelihood those doors will close for good before the start of next school year.
Some parents say they won't send their children back to city schools, even if there's room. It's hard to blame them, considering the district's own problems.
There are other charters in the district, but who knows if they'll have room to accommodate all the students who might want to enroll?
Cyber charters might be an option, or perhaps a private school, if money is no issue.
Some parents have said they would move to another district rather than send their kids back to the city. Again, a good option if they can afford it.
Probably, however, a good number of New Hope students likely would end up back in York City schools, whether they like it or not.
In that case, parents should keep this in mind: Yes, the district has had academic and financial troubles, but it's now under a state-mandated recovery plan.
The community is more involved than ever before, and changes are being made.
New Hope Academy parents have become community activists while fighting for their children's education. That's just the kind of involvement the York City School District needs to make a successful transformation.