I-LEAD wins appeal to keep charter school open in Reading

'Today is a great day,' school's founder, CEO says

I-LEAD wins appeal to keep charter...

READING, Pa. - The I-LEAD Charter School in Reading will be keeping its doors open, thanks to a decision by the State Charter School Appeal Board.

The board voted 5-1 Tuesday to overturn the revocation of the school's charter by the Reading School District.

"Today is a great day for the students, families, staff and supporters of I-LEAD Charter School," said Angel Figueroa, I-LEAD's founder and CEO. "For the last two years, the I-LEAD Charter School community has stood together to fight for its survival against a system that is focused on destroying the steady progress our school has made."

I-LEAD, located in the former CNA building at North Fourth and Penn streets in center city, has served at-risk students in grades nine through 12 since 2011.

The Reading School Board said the school failed to demonstrate academic progress, prompting it to revoke I-LEAD's charter in May 2016.

"We are disappointed with the charter appeal board's decision today," said Bernardo Carbajal, the Reading School Board's vice president. "I-LEAD is the lowest-performing charter school that has ever come before the charter appeal board; while, the Reading Senior High School is the highest-performing school that would have received students from a revoked charter before the charter appeal board." 

Carbajal said the district is encouraged by state education Secretary Pedro Rivera's statements that the department will closely monitor the charter school's compliance with the charter school law and fiduciary responsibilities.

The school district said its administrators will meet with legal counsel and the school board once the appeal board's written decision is made available.

"I-LEAD Charter School's board, administration and staff look forward to welcoming students back to the school in the fall for the next school year," Figueroa said.

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