Steel School to remain district-run

Posted: May 10, 2014

Based on the results of a parents' vote last week, Steel School in Nicetown will remain a district elementary school rather than being converted into a charter, officials said Thursday.

The announcement follows a spirited campaign by some parents and community members opposed to the change, who complained about the shortened process the district followed this year.

Parents were given the choice of keeping Steel, 4301 Wayne Ave., a traditional school or turning it over to Mastery Charter Schools in hope the charter operator could boost student academic performance.

The district said 121 parents wanted Steel to remain in the district, and 55 wanted it to be part of Mastery's network.

In a separate vote, nine members of Steel's school advisory council favored the Mastery option, and eight wanted the district to transform the school.

"This process has allowed for the voice of parents and guardians to be included and accounted for," Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. said in a statement. "We are very proud of the work done by principal [Mary] Bonner's team, Steel's school advisory council, and parents."

Earlier in the day, Mastery said Scott Gordon, the nonprofit's CEO, meet with Bonner to tell her Mastery had decided to withdraw its bid.

Gordon said the division and strife in the community that surrounded the process was "antithetical to our values as an organization."

Noting that Mastery operates other charters in the Nicetown-Tioga area, Gordon said Mastery has offered to provide assistance and support to Steel if Bonner and her administrators think it would help.


martha.woodall@phillynews.com215-854-2789

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