Montgomery Flex Charter School representative Tim Sager said appealing to the state Department of Education following the denial of North Penn School Board of its and two other charter school applications is not an option at present.
"After careful consideration, we have decided not to file for an appeal to the Pennsylvania Department of Education. This is in large part due to the cost of launching such an effort," Sager wrote in an email.
Sager said Montgomery Flex, in an appeal, must first get 1,000 signatures from North Penn residents. Those signatures must then be reviewed and approved by the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas.
"At this stage, the school district can challenge the veracity of the signatures by subpoenaing the signature gatherers, comparing the signatures with their lists of residents, and generally making the process as difficult as possible," Sager said.
Montgomery Flex is, thus, choosing to drop the whole efforts. Its other options include resubmitting an application to North Penn School District, with the goal of it changing its decision, or wait for the Pennsylvania General Assembly to change the authorizing process for charter schools.
Furthermore, Montgomery Flex would expect to spend upwards of $30,000 in legal fees. With a lawyer on board, Montgomery Flex's application then goes to the Charter Appeals Board.
"I'm not saying it can't be done," Sager wrote. "I'm just saying that we would need to be prepared to spend legal fees to do this and this is not an expense that we have the capability of bearing."
Sager said he and the other stakeholders in Montgomery Flex are holding out hope that the State House will vote on a bill this year for charter school reform, which passed the Senate. This reform bill would allow establishment of independent charter-authorizing groups, he said.
"If it does allow for an alternate route to charter approval, it might be a better time to present a charter proposal," Sager said. "I continue to believe in the value of a charter school in North Penn."
Families had already pre-registered their children for Montgomery Flex. He said these families expressed satisfaction in having a choice for quality education, when North Penn School District fails them.
"This has been perhaps the hardest phase, acknowledging that we don't have the resources to move forward," Sager said. "But your interest in the school and desire for education alternatives has kept me going and I have appreciated the opportunity to try to make this work."
Read more on this topic:
- North Penn Board Says No to Charter Schools
- NP School Board Doesn't Want Charter School
- Montgomery Flex Receives Mixed Reactions At Hearing
- Group Wants to Open Charter School in North Penn