Charter review team recommends Propel’s application; public hearing scheduled

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After an initial denial of Propel Charter Schools’ application to open a school on the Northside, The Pittsburgh Public Schools Charter Review Team earlier this week recommended the Board of Education approve Propel’s revised application.

The board will hear testimony and opinions April 25 at 6 p.m. and will vote on the recommendation April 27.

In February, the board voted not to approve Propel’s charter application on recommendation of the Charter Review Team because Propel did not include a comprehensive curriculum for all grades, lacked long-range goals for all students and a plan for meeting the needs of students with disabilities in compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

Propel Executive Director Jeremy Resnick said Propel revised its application to address all of the Charter Review Team’s concerns and resubmitted it.

Charter applicants may resubmit an application to the school board after denial or appeal to the state charter appeal board under Pennsylvania’s Charter School Law.

District spokesperson Ebony Pugh said the resubmitted application adequately addressed the review team’s concerns. The team is comprised of school principals, curriculum experts, experts on special education and many others who follow state guidelines in making recommendations.

“We feel the [team was] doing their due diligence,” Pugh said.

Because of Propel’s previous experience in opening schools, Resnick is not worried about being able to open on the Northside by the start of next school year, assuming the board approves the application, and Propel has already opened applications for enrollment at Propel Northside.

Students are accepted based on a lottery system. The school will begin as a K-4 school and grow to K-8 over the next several years.

Propel’s next big challenges will be finding a facility and hiring a full staff, Resnick said.

“We have a pool of people that we’re already lined up to look at,” he said. “We’re going to be putting together a great staff for a great school.”

Currently Propel is also negotiating with several entities to find a suitable building, Resnick said, but he declined to go into any detail on specific locations.

“We’re excited and appreciative and look forward to making this a reality,” he said.

To sign up to speak about Propel Northside at the public hearing, you must call 412-622-3600 before noon the day of the hearing. Testimony is limited to three minutes. The hearing will take place in Conference Room A of the administration building at 341 S. Bellefield Ave.

For more information on Propel and how to apply, visit www.propelschools.org.

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