Court rules agains charter school application

Posted: January 05, 2014

MEDIA A Delaware County Court judge has ruled against a former businessman trying to open a charter school in Upper Darby.

Judge Chad F. Kenney said Tim Sager's petition for Delco Community Charter School did not meet requirements, which include the signatures of at least 1,000 people living in the district.

Under state law, charter schools whose applications were rejected by local school boards can submit a petition of support to the courts. If the petition is deemed sufficient, the schools' operators can appeal to a state board to be approved.

Among the requirements: signers must be 18 or older, live in the district, and provide the date they signed. Someone must also attest to the signers' residency.

On Dec. 20, the court found that Sager's petition was riddled with flaws. Some of the 1,900 signers did not live in the community, fill in the correct date, or know the person who attested to their residency, according to the decision.

Tracey L. Potere, a lawyer for Sager, Delco Community's founder, said that the school had 30 days from the date of the decision to appeal to the state but that he was still deciding whether he wants to go that route.

The Upper Darby school board first denied Sager's application to open a cyber charter school for students in grades 7 through 12 in September 2012. He submitted a revised application - switching to a traditional school - but that was rejected in December 2012.

School Board President Judith Gentile said in an e-mailed statement that Sager's application was "seriously flawed." He did not show he had an appropriate building, staff or community support, and the school's educational plan was confusing and vague in parts.

There are no charter schools in Upper Darby but the 12,000-student district has 480 charter students. Of them, 360 attend cyber schools and the rest are bused to schools outside the district.

Sager could not be reached for comment.

A biography on the Delco Community Charter School website said he spent 20 years in business, mostly with Campbell Soup Co. in Camden and Penn Mutual Life Insurance Co. in Horsham before embarking on an education career. After earning master's degrees in math education and education administration, he taught at several schools..

In 2012, the North Penn School District denied an application by Sager to open Montgomery Flex Charter School, citing problems with the school's curriculum, facility, and community support on Feb. 16, 2012.

And in 2011, the Norristown Area school board rejected a science- and math-oriented charter school application by a Herndon, Va., online curriculum and school management called K12. Sager was identified as the company's director of school development.



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