Harrisburg – May 4, 2015 – While Young Scholars of McKeesport won its appeal to establish a new charter school in McKeesport, the fight “isn’t over by a long shot,” state Sen. Jim Brewster (D-Allegheny/Westmoreland) said today.

“I am pleased that the school board in McKeesport has signaled that it will appeal the recent ruling of the state Charter School Appeal Board,” Brewster said. “This is a local decision, based on local finances that will impact our local school — and the state board has no business overriding local decisions.

“Over the next several days, I will be exploring how I can intervene in my capacity as state senator to bolster the school district’s argument when the appeal is heard in court.”

The McKeesport Area School District (MASD) indicated that it will appeal the ruling of the charter appeal board to Commonwealth Court. According to Brewster, the district stated that there were a myriad of reasons behind the local denial including lack of support, financial issues and a failure to demonstrate how the school would provide a quality education.

Brewster has been active in trying to stop state overrides of local boards on education matters. He introduced legislation (Senate Bill 321) this session that provides a moratorium on state approval of charter applications that were denied by local officials.

“This short-sighted action by the Charter School Appeal Board demonstrates why my bill should be acted upon quickly,” Brewster said. “State boards that are not aware of local financial issues or conditions have no business overriding elected local education officials.”

Brewster said that charter schools drain local resources from public schools. While they have a place – if approved by local education officials – he is concerned that multiple schools would financially decimate school districts.

He said that reimbursements for charter schools were cut by former Gov. Tom Corbett. The new governor proposed a 10 percent charter and cyber-charter reimbursement when he presented his budget in March.

The school, if approved after the court decision, would be located in the old St. Nicholas School.


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