Parents talk charter school

Group identifies location for a potential school

HONEY GROVE — Parents with students attending Lack-Tuscarora Elementary School showed motivation to start the process of opening a charter school.

A meeting was held Friday night at the Lack-Tuscarora EMS building to gauge interest in the possibility of developing plans to open a charter school, as well as to discuss what other options might be available to for students in that part of the county.

“I think it’s safe to say that there is a interest in the community for a charter school,” said Kate Ciarrocchi, one of the parents who organized the meeting. “The support is definitely there.”

The meeting was organized by concerned parents after Juniata County school board voted to include Lack-Tuscarora in the district’s consolidation.

At board meetings, parents voiced concerns about because lengthy bus rides for their children and larger class sizes.

During the meeting, which was attended by about 20 community members and some children, attendees broke into what will become committees who will tackle certain aspects of the process.

The group formed a buildings committee, a school board liaison/community outreach committee, a curriculum committee and a finance committee.

In coming months, the group in will begin to rally community support.

Ciarrocchi said this will include collecting signatures for a petition from individuals who are in favor of opening a charter school. The group will circulate a second petition for parents who have interest in sending their child to a charter school.

In order to move forward, a charter must go before the school board for approval, however, Ciarrocchi said, if the board opposes the charter, the group can appeal to the Pennsylvania Board of Education.

Elizabeth Book, a co-organizer of the meeting, said if a charter school were approved, it would pull some funds from the school district and it would also be eligible for state and federal grants.

The charter school would also rely heavily on donations and community volunteers.

Book said the Heritage Days building has been identified as a potential location to house the school.

The building is privately owned and Book said could be used it free of charge. The building would still be shared with the Heritage Days committee and used for events, she said.

Plans are currently being made for the potential charter school to house children in kindergarten to fifth grade, however, those at the meeting discussed the possibility of opening up a daycare at the facility and possibly expanding to other grades in the future.

The group plans to hold another meeting in in July and to start a Facebook group in the near future. For more information, call (717) 734-2012.