Championship Academy of Distinction has been denied in its efforts to become the sixth charter school in the York City School District.
The school board voted unanimously Wednesday to deny Championship Academy of Distinction's charter application. The proposed charter was founded by Cynthia Dotson, who wants to create a fitness and sports-themed K-3 charter school based at the YWCA.
Brittany Dotson, who attended the board meeting on behalf of her mother, said Championship Academy of Distinction does plan to appeal the board's decision to the State Charter School Appeal Board.
"It's unfortunate to see how things are with the York City School District," she said. "The elementary students are placed with middle schoolers. That's a disadvantage for them. With (Championship) there is hope to alleviate that burden, especially with the K-3 students. Our focus is health, wellness and community for the students."
Championship also could use a one-time opportunity to revise and resubmit its application.
School board president Margie Orr said she voted against the charter because she did not see a need for a separate health-based educational school. Also, the district and its residents are already having a hard time keeping up financial requirements for the five charter schools running in the district, Orr said.
"What the state mandates for health, we are doing all that," she said. "(Championship) is just not needed. It's extra added burden.
Michael Miller, the board's vice president, said the board fulfilled it's responsibilities to review Championship's application and made a responsible decision according to Charter School Law guidelines.
The district released a 39-page "adjudication" document explaining its decision. The document outlines what it says are deficiencies in information the charter presented in the categories of community support, educational programming and student issues, budget and facility.
The document details where Championship did not provide adequate information in the areas of meeting the charter mission and increasing student achievement, Miller said.
According to the document, Championship plans to lease space from the York YWCA at 320 E. Market St., with the rental amount of $168,000 per year for a one-year term. However, the lease agreement does not indicate whether the YWCA's outdoor space would be used for the charter's playground or gardening plans, the district said.
Also, the lease does not indicate how the YWCA would accommodate future charter enrollment increases, as the charter plans to add on one grade per year over a five-year period, the district said.
District officials toured the YWCA facility, noting that charter students would use the same entrance as YWCA patrons; classrooms would be on different floors with students using elevators and stairs also used by patrons; and access to classroom and recreational facilities would not be monitored, but accessible by the use of codes made available to all patrons, according to the district's document.
Championship did not submit pre-enrollment forms with its application, which also lists eight members of the charter's founding management team. Dotson is the only member who lives in the school district. None of them hold certifications from the state Department of Education, according to the document.
No charter employees or board of trustees members have been identified. Also, no teachers in Pennsylvania are associated with the group, the document noted.
No management contract for the charter was submitted to the school district for review, though management fees of $150,000 - in year one with increases annually - were listed in several budget submissions.
Dotson is chief executive officer and president of Charter School Management Solutions, which, she said may provide services to Championship, according to the district. CSMS also indicated that it would lend the charter up to $150,000 for start-up funding.
The charter did not provide curriculum information or identify what trade books, reading or math series would be used for students. Also, academic goals detailed in the application were not accurately reflective to the state's assessment system, the district said.
The charter did not clearly indicate how physical fitness, nutrition, health-related activities and goals would be worked into its daily curriculum. The application does not provide information on athletics, the district said.
Students would have to pay a fee for personal training, as it is not part of curricular activity, according to the district's document.
Besides appealing the decision, Championship could accept a one-time opportunity to revise and resubmit its application to the district.
-Reach Eyana Adah McMillan at email@example.com.