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Career Connections Charter High School v. School District of Pittsburgh

Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania

May 19, 2014

Career Connections Charter High School, Petitioner
v.
School District of Pittsburgh, Respondent

Argued, April 24, 2014

Page 737

Appealed from No. CAB2012-12. State Agency: Department of Education, State Charter School Appeal Board.

Matthew M. Hoffman, Pittsburgh, for petitioner.

Christian D. Bareford, Pittsburgh, for respondent.

BEFORE: HONORABLE DAN PELLEGRINI, President Judge, HONORABLE BERNARD L. McGINLEY, Judge (P.), HONORABLE PATRICIA A. McCULLOUGH, Judge. OPINION BY PRESIDENT JUDGE PELLEGRINI.

OPINION

Page 738

 PELLEGRINI, PRESIDENT JUDGE

Career Connections Charter High School (Career Connections) petitions for review of an order of the Pennsylvania State Charter School Appeal Board (CAB) affirming the decision of the Board of Public

Page 739

Education of the School District of Pittsburgh (District) which declined to renew Career Connections' charter pursuant to Section 1729-A(a) of the Charter School Law (CSL).[1] For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

Career Connections initially applied for a charter in 1998 which the District granted for a three-year period, and the school began operating in the 1999-2000 school year. The District renewed Career Connections' charter in 2002 for an additional five-year term. On May 1, 2007, the District renewed the charter for another five-year term, subject to a March 21, 2007 resolution indicating that the District would continue to actively monitor Career Connections' progress according to action plans for improvement negotiated during the renewal process.

By letter dated July 1, 2011, Career Connections notified the District of its intent to seek renewal of its charter for an additional five-year term. The District Review Team (Review Team) conducted a comprehensive review, which included a site visit to Career Connections on October 31, 2011. On March 6, 2012, the Review Team recommended to the District that the charter not be renewed because Career Connections did not continue to meet all conditions, standards and procedures contained in the written charter agreement; did not continue to meet requirements for student performance; did not provide the District with expanded choices in the types of educational opportunities currently being offered by the school system and was not able to serve as a model to other schools in the system; did not show a considerable level of parental involvement in the school or that a majority of parents were satisfied with the school; and had not addressed various facilities issues. (CAB's October 7, 2013 Opinion at 5). On March 21, 2012, the District voted to accept the recommendation of the Review Team that it not renew Career Connections' charter.

On May 7, 2012, the District sent Career Connections a Notice of Nonrenewal setting forth 23 specific bases for nonrenewal of its charter. Without assigning any of the 23 enumerated deficiencies to a specific ...


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