A new educational opportunity may fill a vacant school building in
Harrisburg. A city charter school is looking to buy the former Bishop
McDevitt High School.
Ever since Bishop McDevitt moved to its new
multi-million dollar home in Lower Paxton Township, many have wondered
the fate of the old brick building on Market Street.
Turns out the
1930's gothic revival-style school building could become revived by a
new wave charter school. Key Charter Schools president Ken Cherry said
they have reached a tentative agreement to purchase the building for
Cherry said the former high school would be turned
into a school for kindergarten through ninth grade, with the goal of
adding another grade every year the following four years. Cherry said
pre-enrollment is about 115 students, about 20 percent of its expected
enrollment of 1,100 students.
Harrisburg mayor-elect Eric
Papenfuse said education is a cornerstone of success in the city. He
believes a charter school could breed competition and offer parents a
choice for their child.
"Anything which brings focused attention
on the need for quality education and provides parents with choices is a
very positive thing," he said.
Harrisburg superintendent Sybil
Knight-Burney said she would not comment on the proposal until after Key
Charter makes its formal presentation to the board Wednesday night.
said the majority of new student enrollment would come from current
city schools. Critics argue that drawing a large number of students away
from public education could hurt the district's performance in the long
After the first presentation, the school board is required
to hold a public meeting before an application is filed to the state
Department of Education for final approval. Gene Veno, Chief Recovery
Officer for the school district, said he too would hold comment until
after Key Charter has made its presentation and he has discussed the
idea with school board members.
Papenfuse said the idea could
prove beneficial by offering educational opportunities within the city
and by filling a vacant building with expectations of modifying the
"I think it's very intriguing thing," he said.
"I think it's something the community ought to consider and be seriously
Tuesday, August 19 2014 1:03 PM EDT2014-08-19 17:03:38 GMT
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