Board approves Innovative Arts charter
The Catasauqua Area School Board has officially granted the Innovative Arts Academy Charter School a three-year charter.
The school’s charter will run 2016-19.
The board approved the charter at the Feb. 9 school board meeting by a vote of 5-0. Board President Penny Hahn abstained from the vote, citing as a reason her absence from the initial charter school presentation.
The school will share space with the Medical Academy Charter School, located in the former Lincoln Middle School building, 330 Howertown Road.
The school will offer core subjects in digital and graphic arts, culinary arts, journalism and fashion design, along with the traditional, required academic subjects. Students would begin the program in sixth grade.
In an email to The Press Monday, district Superintendent Robert Spengler said charter school representatives adequately assured the board the school’s program differs and does not overlap with other programs offered by Lehigh Career & Technical Institute.
“The answer was satisfactory,” Spengler said. “We will monitor and evaluate [this] over the duration of the three-year charter.”
Innovative Arts Academy Charter School Director Dr. Michael Platt told the board at its December meeting the school will place a heavy emphasis on academic subjects in sixth and seventh grades.
“We want to make sure [students’] academic skills are where they need to be,” he said. “We hope to show kids why they need to learn their academics.”
Platt also said Catasauqua Area School District students will be given a priority in registering for the charter school.
According to Spengler, 61 Lehigh Valley students have expressed an interest in enrolling in the school, with one of the 61 students residing in the district.
Charter school Business Manager Thomas Taylor also told the board at the December meeting the school expects to enroll 475 students in its first year, with total enrollment expected to grow to 800 students by the fifth year.
“I don’t anticipate any negative impact on our program here,” Spengler said in Monday’s email. “A positive may be the increased value of the building now that it is fully leased.”
Spengler also noted the district will contract to provide food service to the charter school, which anticipates opening in September.