School board re­jects MAST char­ter school ap­pli­ca­tion

The Advance of Bucks County - - FRONT PAGE -

peal BoardK

At the March N8 meet­ing, sev­eral res­i­dents spoke against the school board’s vote to keep MaST out of the dis­trictK

Charles Al­fonso of Mid­dle­town Town­ship claimed that WKH dHFLsLRn wDs EDsHd Rn finDnFLDO FRn­sLdHrDWLRns EHFDusH the board did not want to turn over to MaST the ANO,MMM it costs to ed­u­cate a stu­dent in Ne­shaminyK

As a so­lu­tion, Al­fonso pro­posed that MaST ac­cept the same A9,MMM per stu­dent fee that the Philadel­phia School aistrict now pays the char­ter schoolK

iarry Pas­tor, also of Mid­dle­town, sug­gested that Ne­shaminy in­stead team up with MaST to help bol­ster Ne­shaminy’s own STEM ES­cience, Tech­nol­ogy, En­gi­neer­ing and Math­e­mat­icsF pro­gramK

“I can en­vi­sion a deal that can work,” he stated, “that wRuOd EHnH­fiW 1HsKDPLny Dnd WKH sWudHnWs.”

Mean­while, Holly him­ball of ievit­town tear­fully told the board how her son, who has a learn­ing dis­abil­ity, had to be sent to a pri­vate school be­cause Ne­shaminy had IDLOHd WR RIIHr sROuWLRns IRr KLs rHDdLng dLI­fiFuOWLHs.

Ac­cord­ing to him­ball, her son is now thriv­ing and us­ing tech­nol­ogy that was un­avail­able in Ne­shaminyK

She said that a tech­nol­ogy-ori­ented school, such as MaST, would greatly help himK

“It’s great to have on pa­per what you’re sup­posed to have, but you don’t have it in re­al­ity,” she con­tend­edK

oes­i­dent aeb Parker also crit­i­cized the school board for re­ject­ing MaSTK

She claimed that Ne­shaminy stu­dents of­ten play games dur­ing their com­puter lessons, while MaST stu­dents use the time to prac­tice typ­ing, or­ga­niz­ing spread sheets, and learn­ing other more ad­vanced com­puter skillsK

How­ever, Steve Pir­ri­tano of ceast­er­ville stated that the de­ci­sion to deny the char­ter school’s ap­pli­ca­tion was the right oneK “I’m still will­ing to give Ne­shaminy a chance,” he saidK Board mem­ber Mark Shu­bin, who voted to ac­cept the find­Lngs RI IDFW, sDLd WKDW WKH vRWH wDs FORsH, Dnd wDrnHd if there is a teach­ers’ work ac­tion next Septem­ber, that the board’s sup­port of the MaST char­ter school could changeK

Irene Boyle, who also voted to deny the ap­pli­ca­tion, said that the vote was “not taken lightly,” and stressed that MaST is “well re­gard­edK”

“te need to try to pre­serve the pub­lic school sys­tem as it is,” she ex­plained, not­ing that she still be­lieves in the MaST’s over­all phi­los­o­phy and the right of par­ents to have school choiceK

Boyle said that if there is a lot­tery to choose who would at­tend MaST, she wor­ried that “a lot of kids would be left be­hindK”

But board mem­ber Mike Mor­ris, one of the four school direc­tors who sup­ported MaST, said, “It would be great if we could ever do itK”

“I be­lieve in com­pe­ti­tion and I think that’s the way we’re go­ing to straighten any­thing out with the NcT ENe­shaminy ced­er­a­tion of Teach­ersF,” he said, al­lud­ing to the cur­rent stalled teacher con­tract talksK

In the past, one rea­son that sev­eral board mem­bers had in­di­cated that they were con­cerned that if MaST were ap­proved, there would be two char­ter schools com­pet­ing for stu­dents in the Ne­shaminy dis­trictK

iast year, the board had re­con­sid­ered its de­nial of a 6FKRRO LDnH CKDrWHr 6FKRRO’s (6LC6) DSSOLFDWLRn Dnd finDOOy grDnWHd D fivH-yHDr FKDrWHr IRr LW WR RSHn D .-12 IDFLOity in the dis­trictK

How­ever, SiCS-Ne­shaminy has had a con­sid­er­able set­back be­cause in se­cur­ing a lo­ca­tionK

The school district’s re­cent sale of former Eisen­hower Ele­men­tary School site at NTMM tood­bourne ooad in Mid­dle­town Town­ship to SiCS-Ne­shaminy for AOKO mil­lion has ap­par­ently fallen throughK

Cur­rently, the N4-acre area is used by the school district as a main­te­nance fa­cil­ity, with an adult day care cen­ter op­er­ated by aelta Com­mu­nity Sup­ports, IncK also oc­cu­py­ing the former ele­men­tary school site which was closed in N9TSK

In its lease with Ne­shaminy, aelta was given the right RI firsW rHIusDO WR Euy WKH SrRSHrWy Dnd nRw SODns WR dR sR, wKLFK nuOOL­fiHs WKH sDOH DgrHHPHnW wLWK 6FKRRO LDnH.

In a state­ment, SiCS-Ne­shaminy said this leaves it with­out a build­ingK School iane’s CEl and Prin­ci­pal haren Schade said, “te will con­tinue to look for a lo­ca­tionK”

At one point dur­ing the March N8 school board meet­ing WHPSHrs flDrHd wKHn rHsLdHnW CKDrOHs $OIRnsR, Ln suSSRrWing MaST, was de­nied more time to speak af­ter his three­minutes of pub­lic com­ment were up be­cause he started to per­son­ally at­tack board mem­ber Mark Shu­binK

Shu­bin sup­ports con­sol­i­dat­ing sev­eral ele­men­tary schools and build­ing a new one at the Tawanka site on Brownsville ooad, which Al­fonso op­pos­esK

Af­ter Al­fonso left the podium, he walked past Shu­bin, who ut­tered a deroga­tory termK

Al­fonso then shouted “what did you call me, did you call me an ‘EbleepF,’” and de­manded an im­me­di­ate apol­ogy from both Shu­bin and the board while be­ing es­corted to his seat by an­other res­i­dentK

At the end of the meet­ing, Shu­bin ex­tended an olive branchK

“I would like to of­fer an apol­ogy to the board and the com­mu­nity for the com­ment I made,” he saidK “Things roll off the tongue and I apol­o­gizeK”

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