Thackston, York City schedule special meetings on charter school

Junior Gonzalez
York Dispatch

Cancellations and postponements continue for Helen Thackston Charter School and the York City School District as both the charter school and district have announced special meetings for Thursday, Oct. 19.

Helen Thackston Solicitor Brian Leinhauser, standing, addresses the board after York City superintendent Eric Holmes recommends to board members to pursue the revocation of the charter for Helen Thackston Charter School.

The charter school has postponed a meeting initially scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 17, to 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 19, according to a post on the school's website.

Thackston's special meeting is scheduled to commence just 90 minutes before the York City school board will hold a special meeting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 19, relating to the struggling charter school, according to a post on the district's website.

After initially stating an agenda would be available for the special meeting, Thackston CEO Carlos Lopez said Thackston's solicitor Brian Leinhauser advised him not to make the agenda available.

Meetings at Thackston and York City were called as the first three scheduled charter revocation hearings were canceled without explanation.

York City School District board member James Sawor said he did not know details about Thursday's special board meeting aside from its relation to Thackston.

When reached, York City school board vice president Michael Miller and board member Jose Santiago declined to divulge any details about the special Thursday meeting.

The York City school board will hold a regular board meeting Wednesday, Oct. 18, though no mention is made of Thackston in the meeting's draft agenda.

Phone calls to district board president Margie Orr and to board members Michael Breeland, Juanita Kirkland, Lois Garnett and David Moser were not immediately returned on Tuesday, Oct. 17.

Sunshine Act: Thackston's meeting was postponed a day after its announcement on Monday, when The York Dispatch pointed out to Leinhauser that the school did not issue public notice through a newspaper as required by the Sunshine Act, the state's public meetings law.

According to the law, agencies are required to provide legal public notice of a special meeting at least 24 hours in advance of the time of the meeting.

Both Thackston and York City have since placed a public notice advertisement in Wednesday's York County newspapers, according to an ad services clerk for Gannett, which monitors public notices for The York Dispatch and York Daily Record.

Public notice is defined as "publication of the place, date and time of a meeting in a newspaper of general circulation ... which is published and circulated in the political subdivision where the meeting will be held."

A review of public notices stored by the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association on its website,, found that Thackston also hadn't provided public notice of its regularly scheduled meetings for the year.

A Gannett classifieds section employee confirmed that the only public notice Thackston has submitted during the past year was published Aug. 3, advertising an Aug. 9 meeting that had been rescheduled from September.

— Reporter David Weissman contributed to this report.