Two York City charter school appeals are nearing a court date, while a third charter case remains in limbo.
Supporters of the proposed New Hope Elementary Charter School, turned down by the school board in January, will present their community signatures to the York County Court of Common Pleas on June 27, according to court documents.
State law requires a group appealing a new charter school denial to collect signatures of support equal to 2 percent of the district population. Proponents of the proposed Helen Thackston Charter High School will present signatures to the court on Thursday, according to Helen Thackston's attorney, Daniel Fennick. The proposed school was rejected by the city school board in February.
If the signatures are valid, both cases move on to the state Charter Appeal Board, which has the right to overturn the district's decisions.
The state board, for example, overturned the school board's 2005 decision not to renew Lincoln Elementary's charter.
Alexis Snyder, representing New Hope, said school officials had hoped the appeal process would have wrapped up in time for the elementary school to open this fall in the event of a favorable decision, but that timeline doesn't seem likely now. In both cases, the district is contesting the validity of the signatures.
"It's our opinion there are some significant problems with the signatures," said Allison Peterson, an attorney representing the district in the New Hope Elementary case.
New Hope Academy renewal: Peterson is also representing York City in the ongoing charter renewal case with New Hope Academy, a secondary school.
The hearing portion concluded in March. New Hope is seeking the standard five-year renewal.
Peterson and Snyder said the two sides are waiting for one of the hearing transcripts before filing their conclusions, which are due within one month of receipt of those documents.
After the conclusions are filed, the board will have to vote on the charter renewal. If it denies the renewal, New Hope plans to appeal, Snyder said.
State law allows a charter school to remain open throughout the appeal process.
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