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SRC votes to shut down Arise Academy Charter

The school, which serves youth in foster care, will close in June after failing to meet academic targets.

Superintendent Hite: Takes responsibility for any usable materials that were in storage. (YONG KIM / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER)
Superintendent Hite: Takes responsibility for any usable materials that were in storage. (YONG KIM / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER)Read moreDN

THE SCHOOL REFORM Commission last night voted to accept the closure of a charter school for foster-care students.

Arise Academy Charter, which opened in 2009 and has about 100 students, forfeited its charter and will close at the end of the school year after failing to meet academic targets. The SRC initially voted not to renew the school's charter in April 2012, but gave officials a one-year reprieve before ultimately deciding to pull the plug last year.

Roberta Trombetta, the school's acting chief executive, said her staff is working with district officials to make sure the students get the support they need as they transition into other schools. She said it is unclear where the students will move.

"We're hoping again that we keep as many kids together to continue that continuity and also build the programming around them with the staff that we have so that they have stability, which is what our kids need most," Trombetta said.

Also, Superintendent William Hite addressed concerns about unused textbooks and materials stored in the basement of the district's headquarters and at Bok Technical High School, which closed in 2013.

Hite said he accepted full responsibility if any "relevant and usable" teaching materials were not being used. But he claimed that the district's curriculum office notified school staff between June 2013 and June 2014 about the materials from closed schools, and how to review and access them.

Hite said that the SRC had agreed in December to find a vendor to stage and sort the materials. Once that inventory is completed, he said, district officials will determine which items are appropriate to redistribute to schools, donate, sell or recycle.

"This approach is less costly and more efficient than the other alternatives explored," he said, adding that he expects the materials to be disposed of by September.

The meeting was the first conducted by new commission chair Marjorie Neff, who was appointed two weeks ago by Gov. Wolf to replace Commissioner Bill Green, who is still a member of the commission.