Neshaminy School District

Louis T. Muenker, D.Ed. Superintendent

2001 Old Lincoln Highway  Langhorne, Pennsylvania 19047-3295

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

NSB Fires Back at SLCS
Board members criticize charter school for misleading the public
October 28, 2011 Neshaminy School District Langhorne, PA Reacting to a School Lane Charter School (SLCS) press release which accuses the Neshaminy school board of acting “capriciously and arbitrarily,” the board today revealed verifiable proof to show that SLCS officials are misleading the public with false information. Pointing to SLCS’s claim that lease/purchase of the Eisenhower facility was added as a condition after board approval of the charter application in July 2011, NSB President Ritchie Webb displayed a copy of a June 28, 2011 letter from SLCS’s attorney confirming that School Lane Charter School “is willing to negotiate with the Neshaminy School District regarding the lease and/or purchase of the Eisenhower Elementary School as a potential site for the charter school.” Refuting the charge that the NSB changed the agreement outside of the public view, Webb said that page 9 of the transcripts from a July 19th public hearing and vote on the charter application very clearly states that both parties would enter into a Lease Agreement for use of the Eisenhower facility. “I am furious that School Lane would accuse this Board of hiding anything from the public when we have shown unprecedented transparency in all of our dealings,” Webb said. During the summer, the District allowed School Lane Charter School a “walk-through” of the building and School Lane officials said that they were going to obtain an appraisal report on the property. To date, School Lane has not shared its appraisal with the District and denies even having one. Board member William O’Connor labeled SLSC’s behavior as “suspicious” and questioned their actions. “Why would they go through the effort of a walk-through and say they would get an appraisal, and then not get one?” O’Connor asked. He added that SLSC went many weeks without any further action on the Eisenhower building, and then with no advance warning notified Neshaminy officials on October 21st that they were no longer interested in this facility.

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O’Connor said, “School Lane has been rather vague about securing a location since the beginning of its application, and they’ve done very little to convince me they really have a site available for a charter school in Neshaminy.” O’Connor added, “I feel like something else is going on here, and SLCS just isn’t telling us.” Webb shared O’Connor’s concerns by saying, “prior to Eisenhower, School Lane’s top choice for a location was a building in the middle of a parking lot which is hardly a suitable location for an elementary school.” Webb said, “Outside recess for young children should not include dodging parked cars.” Addressing SLCS’s complaint that Neshaminy had not evicted its current tenant in the Eisenhower facility, Webb asked, “Why on Earth would we kick out a tenant who is paying us good money when School Lane hasn’t even made us an offer on the building?” Webb summarized his frustrations with School Lane by saying, “I know that charter schools are all the rage these days, but it doesn’t mean we don’t do our due diligence and just rubber stamp their application. We must always act with the good of our students as our number one priority” The Board President noted that School Lane can reapply for a charter school in Neshaminy. “We’ve already demonstrated that we are willing to overlook their lower PSSA scores in order to bring school choice into our district,” Webb said.

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(Page 9 from transcripts of charter school application hearing, July 19, 2011)

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