Fate of two Germantown charter-school applications to be decided Wednesday

 Julie Stapleton Carroll and Joe Budd present the plans for the Germantown Community Charter School Coalition to School District officials at a meeting in Dec. (Bas Slabbers/for NewsWorks)

Julie Stapleton Carroll and Joe Budd present the plans for the Germantown Community Charter School Coalition to School District officials at a meeting in Dec. (Bas Slabbers/for NewsWorks)

The School Reform Commission will vote Wednesday on 39 applications for new charter schools, including a pair based in Germantown.

Residents behind the proposed Germantown Community Charter School hope to open an independent school inside the former home of Germantown High School on East High Street.

If approved, the school would open in 2016 and ultimately serve 1,050 neighborhood students in grades six through 12.

Students would be taught traditional subjects, but also “21st century” skills tied to job-readiness, namely in hospitality and the building trades.

Down the road, neighbors hope the school can co-locate with a boutique hotel and a restaurant. Both would be folded into the school’s curriculum in some way.

“We are providing something different, something organic and really community-driven,” group leader Julie Stapleton-Carroll told NewsWorks after the second and final application hearing.

“This can serve as a model for comprehensive high schools.”

The Concordia Group, a Maryland-based development company, has bid $6.8 million for a package of shuttered schools, including GHS.

The sale has not yet been finalized, but Concordia has expressed interest in a partnership and sent a letter of support to the SRC.

The team pushing to open the Philadelphia Career and Technical Academy will also be on hand for Wednesday’s special session.

The group, a partnership between Redemptive Enterprises and WAY Haberdashery, wants to offer a STEM-based curriculum and vocational training to 600 students from the Germantown area and throughout the city.

In addition to taking classes in core subjects, students would get certified in one of five specialties. Options would include certified nursing, automotive technology, computer networking, culinary arts and business.

The school would also have a college preparatory bent.

“We have a good coalition of people. We have people who are really dedicated and I really believe that our program is tailored to be unique. I think we just are just the right people at the right time,” said Frank Robinson, president of Redemptive Enterprises.

If approved, it’s unclear where the school would be located.

The group has had discussions with Philly Office Retail, owned by Mt. Airy developer Ken Weinstein.

Weinstein owns a five-building campus at 4811 Germantown Ave., which once housed Germantown Settlement Charter School.

A property on Church Lane, about a mile away, is also a possibility.

Wednesday’s special session begins at 3:30 p.m. The SRC will vote later in the evening after applicants and members of the public have a chance to address the five-member body.

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