The Neshaminy School Board's decision to has left at least 350 children in academic limbo, according to charter school officials.
According to a press release issued by the charter school, the Neshaminy School Board "capriciously and arbitrarily" rescinded the charter without providing School Lane Charter School with any notice that the action was scheduled to take place.
The school board "erroneously claimed as reason for its vote that School Lane Charter School-Neshaminy rejected the terms of its charter" -- a claim the charter school officials said is untrue in the release.
School Lane Charter School claims that the school board "violated the terms of the charter by adding conditions after it was approved in July," and that the board did so outside of public view. Those additional conditions included requiring the charter school to lease or purchase the old Eisenhouse Elementary School on Woodbourne Road in Middletown and limiting the number of students who could attend the charter school with enrollment caps.
"Making the charter conditional upon the renting of this building was illegal to begin with, based on the precedent set by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling in the Collegium Charter School case," as stated in the release.
According to the release, the school board placed illegal conditions upon how the charter school may or may not classify special education students in the initial charter agreement. The Pennsylvania Department of Education has overturned these conditions, but the charter school is also claiming that the school district has ignored directives and deadlines from state officials.
The charter school was scheduled to open its doors in August 2012, which required several months to prepare the builing. But, according to the relesae, the school district failed to give the building's current tenant, the Delta Schol, a 12-month notice to vacate the premises.
"As recently as October 19, the school district had not yet notified the Delta School that its lease had been terminated, which would have prohibited School Lane Charter School-Neshaminy from opening as scheduled for the 2012-2013 school year," as stated in the release.
The Delta School's current least expires in 2014 and "continues to have the first right of refusal to purchase the building should the district wish to sell the property."
According to the charter school, these conditions forced School Lane Charter School-Neshaminy to search for another location as an alternative solution in order to begin serving students during the 2012-2013 school year.
Despite all of this, the School Lane Charter School "remains committed to the hundreds of Neshaminy families who wish to provide their children what they believe is their best public school choice, and is exploring its legal options to overturn the board’s vote."
School Lane officials are confident that the law is on their side and the charter school's administrators "remain hopeful, however, that the Neshaminy School Board will reverse its decision and instead act in the best interests of the taxpayers, and more importantly, the children who have pre-enrolled in School Lane Charter School-Neshaminy."