Lehigh Valley

ASD directors shoot down two charter school applicants

ALLENTOWN, Pa - The dependably combustible topic of charter school education ignited Thursday night's Allentown School District's Board of Directors' meeting in which two applicants learned their fates.

For the Arts Academy Elementary School and Computer Aid Inc. Learning Academy Charter School, fate was not on their side as both failed to persuade directors to their causes by 5-4 and 7-2 votes, respectively. 

In the case of the Arts Academy, the school had sought to instruct students from kindergarten through fifth grade and informally serve as a feeder school for the Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts and the Arts Academy Charter School in Bethlehem and Salisbury Township respectively.

Their plan had been to set up shop at the site of the former Allentown Racquetball Club and instruct students in all things artistic - visual, musical, dance and theater - starting in the fall of 2014. 

As the name implies the Computer Aid Learning's focus would have been technology-based, with students learning at least half of their days through video-game type instruction charted by individual learning plans that would, in part, be suggested by students themselves.

The school would have operated at 1033 Washington St. in the city.

The charter school debate can produce acrimonious conflict between camps that logically would want the same thing - sound educational opportunities for children.

Taxpayers foot the bill and under the scenario, applicants must garner the approval of host school district's board of directors.

On Thursday night only Director, Debra Lamb, spoke prior to either vote and that was prior to the verdict on Computer Aid.

In Lamb's view, Computer Aid failed to attract sufficient grassroots support from the community, among other reasons.

ASD has been a magnet for charter school applications recently.

Only two nights previous, the board spent more than 3 1/2 hours hearing pitches from two potential schools, the Executive Education Academy Charter School and LVenture.

In other business, Christine Piripavel was named principal of Trexler Middle School, leaving her position as assistant principal at Louis E. Dieruff High School.

She will make $100,241 per year. The move is effective February 14th, 2014.

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