Championship Academy of Distinction had the second half of its hearing with the York City School Board on Wednesday.
The hearing was the board's last chance to ask questions of founder Cynthia Dotson, who wants to create a fitness and sports-themed charter school based at the YWCA.
The board had only a cursory question, though, leaving the bulk of the commentary to the district administration.
And the administration used that opportunity to give a laundry list of concerns for what would be the district's sixth charter school; York City already has YouthBuild, Lincoln, Helen Thackston, New Hope Academy and York Academy Regional charter schools, placing the city among the highest number of charters in the state.
Dotson said Championship Academy adjusted its budget to reflect a more conservative enrollment projection. It is are now budgeting for 80 K-3 students instead of 120, with the goal of opening in August. As part of the school, former and current professional athletes would visit students. There'd also be a wellness component, with a garden and orchard used to teach science, healthy eating, and more.
Taken to task: Administrators said Dotson's application - her second, as her Championship charter application a year ago was turned down - still had some holes in it.
The district officials said Dotson and her team didn't do a good enough job detailing the budget, explaining how special education would work, explaining how they'd use the YWCA, or giving adequate curriculum and academic program details. And Eric Holmes, who oversees York City School District's human resources, said he can't see how Championship could attract certified teachers when its starting pay would be around $42,000, or $3,000 less than York City.
Championship consultant Gus Prats replied he and other educators believe in charter schools enough that they'd rather work for slightly less and be in a school they believe in.
But Holmes also took issue with the applicant's assertion that Championship would provide health insurance on a par with York City schools, a requirement under charter school law. Holmes said according to the application, teachers at the charter would have to pay much more in their insurance contribution than at the district.
Dotson has until Feb. 4 to submit final arguments and supporting documents to answer the district and board's questions, after which a decision date will be set.
Dotson repeatedly said that she believes Championship followed all the requirements of the application, which distinctly asks for an "overview." An overview, she said, doesn't sound like they'd need finite details. And even so, those details, such as aspects of the curriculum, wouldn't be known until Championship could get its charter approved and hire the staff that would actually be doing that work.
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