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Court: State board must hear North Side charter school's appeal

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By Adam Brandolph
Friday, Oct. 26, 2012, 4:40 p.m.

A state board that helps oversee the opening and closing of charter schools must review a North Side charter school's application to add grade levels, an appellate court ordered Friday.

Northside Urban Pathways Charter School, which serves about 300 poor and minority students in grades 6 through 12, in December 2009 requested that Pittsburgh Public Schools allow it to add kindergarten and grades 1 through 5. In February 2010, the school board denied the request.

Northside appealed to the State Charter School Appeal Board, which later said it lacked jurisdiction to rule on the matter.

Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court Judge Mary Hannah Leavitt wrote in the majority opinion that although the law does not address whether the appeal board can rule on such changes, denying a charter school such a forum would be “very limiting.” President Judge Dan Pellegrini and Judge Robert Simpson dissented.

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