New Hope Academy students and parents won some well-deserved stability Thursday when a state appeals board ruled the school can stay open until the end of the school year.

That same board earlier had agreed with the York City school board's decision not to renew the school's charter and ordered it to close by Jan. 15.

That would have disrupted the academic lives of more than 800 students in grades 5 through 12, forcing them into new, unfamiliar schools mid-school year.

Thursday's decision doesn't alter the revocation; it just means the school can remain open while it appeals to the Commonwealth Court.

The school board and the state appeals board cited in their decisions serious concerns about New Hope, but delaying its closure was fair.

It gives the school's families and employees time to adequately plan their next moves.

At the same time, the future of the York City School District became less clear this week, months after it adopted a state-mandated recovery plan.

To the cheers of students, residents and administrators, state-appointed recovery officer David Meckley had chosen an "internal-transformation model" over a more drastic, competing plan that would have converted all of the district's buildings into charter schools.

The winning model created themed K-8 magnet schools and focused "academies" at William Penn Senior High School.

The district also added pre-kindergarten classes at its K-8 buildings and created school advisory committees at each building to help guide the direction of the school.


However, it also called for major concessions from the teachers' union, which, along with the administration, had proposed the internal transformation model in the first place.

It could not have been an easy decision, taking pay cuts. But in the end the union leaders surely recognized it was better than the alternative -- everyone loses their jobs.

But now the union appears to be dragging its feet. The teachers still have not agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement that would implement those concessions.

And that has thrown a wrench into the whole recovery plan.Without that financial piece of the puzzle in place, the Community Education Council, a volunteer group charged with overseeing the plan, could not approve the building-improvement plans developed by school advisory committees.

The committees came up with good plans, according to Meckley, but the council rejected them at a meeting this week.

Even though the deadline for approving them is Nov. 30, the council won't meet again until December, so the damage is already done.

While the recovery plan allowed for any schools still failing by the 2015-16 school year to be converted to charters, that possibility is now on the table for next school year.

It's a bit ironic.

The district next year could close one charter school in New Hope but still open seven more.