The Valley Forge Classical Academy, which the West Chester Area School Board has twice turned down, is collecting signatures to appeal to the state Charter School Board.

Despite a thorough and complete application that demonstrates full alignment of the VFCA curriculum to the Pennsylvania state standards and meets all of the Charter School Law requirements, the West Chester Area School District denied the Charter Application, the charter school board said in a press release. The next step is to appeal the board’s decision to the State Charter Appeals Board.

To secure a hearing, 1,500 signatures from WCASD residents are required. They have crews ready to get your signature at local home doors and businesses.

The proposed charter school would be a public school offering a classical American curriculum. VFCA Board President Jen MacFarland gave a presentation on the new charter at a July 2023 meeting. The school would use a curriculum developed by Hillsdale College that emphasizes classic literature, Singapore Math, Latin, and phonics. The history program would be Hillsdale’s 1776 curriculum, which teaches good and bad things that happened in America.

Charter schools offer students alternatives to public schools and are supported by tax dollars, so students do not pay tuition.

Supporters hope to open the new school this fall.

“We are committed to seeing this through, but we need YOU [emphasis original]. Working together, we can make this school a reality for your kids!” the VFCA board said on Facebook.

“For parents, taxpayers, and most of all our students, everyone should support having multiple good school options so that every child has a chance to succeed. VFCA is using a proven curriculum—and once opened, it will help improve the quality of education for everyone in the great West Chester area.”

West Chester resident Beth Ann Rosica, a parent and education writer, said, “I support the right of every parent to have a choice in educational options for their children. Public schools cannot be expected to meet the unique needs of all students; therefore, charter schools are an essential part of the solution. Not all parents can afford private school tuition, so charter schools fill an important role in providing options to children and families.

“Additionally, I believe that the current mechanism for approving charter schools is flawed. Currently, charter schools must be approved by the local public school district, and if denied, they can appeal to the state for approval.  This system sets up a potentially adversarial relationship, and this conflict could be resolved through a state approval process,” Rosica said.

About 10 core people are helping with the petitions, along with other volunteers. Please get in touch with Valley Forge Classical Academy for more information: 610-730-6931.