Propel charter application denied


The Pittsburgh Public School Board last night voted not to approve the charter application for Propel Charter Schools Northside location, as recommended by the district’s Charter Review Team.

Propel was not alone. The board rejected two other charter school applications and approved one, that of Urban Pathways Charter School Downtown.

Propel Executive Director Jeremy Resnick did not immediately return a request for comment Thursday. Resnick told The Chronicle last week that the Propel staff was disappointed with the review team recommendation that the board not approve its application,

At least one Northside group, the Manchester Elementary School Parent Teacher Association, had asked the board not to approve Propel’s application at a public hearing in December.

Propel’s charter application listed an address in Manchester, but last week Resnick said Propel was still looking for the best location, and would not comment on whether the Manchester address was a placeholder.

PTA President Lisa Freeman today said she was glad Propel’s application was denied, because she feels putting a charter school on the Northside would divert funds away from other public Northside schools that need them.

Freeman praised public school teachers but said that great teachers aren’t the only component necessary for a successful school, and that the board should focus on improving the schools it does have rather than approve new ones.

“The only difference between a charter school and Pittsburgh Public Schools is parent participation,” she said.

Despite some opposition, Resnick is confident Propel Northside will eventually become a reality.

“I guess there’s just some confusion about what paper they wanted,” Resnick said last week. “Once it becomes clear what [the school board] is looking for, we’ll give it to them, and we’ll be approved.”

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