Meeting to discuss GHS building’s future scheduled for Dec. 3, Camelot still interested

A collection of neighborhood stakeholders will meet after Thanksgiving to discuss possible uses for Germantown High School’s shuttered building.

The meeting, scheduled for Dec. 3, was organized by Germantown United CDC. Julie Stapleton-Carroll, the organization’s vice president, told NewsWorks that residents have discussed bringing a vocational technical school or, possibly, an independent charter school to the site.

“The community still needs to decide what project we want to engage in,” said Stapleton-Carroll, who founded Wissahickon Charter School in Germantown. “We’re trying to cast as wide a net as possible.”

The meeting will take place at the Germantown office of state Rep. Stephen Kinsey, whose re-election campaign is set to kick-off during a weekend fundraiser.

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What happened to Camelot?

It will also happen as a private education company’s plans to lease the same building remain in limbo.

In mid-August, just weeks before the start of the school year, officials with Camelot Schools learned that the property needed to be inspected before it could be deemed safe for students. It would be at least two months before that could happen.

The news was a major blow to Camelot, which hoped to bring three alternative-education programs to the site this school year. At the time, company officials and local lawmakers thought the move was a School Reform Commission vote away from becoming a reality.

Nearly three months into the academic calendar, Camelot’s plans now appear to be on a backburner far, far away. In an email sent last week, district spokesperson Fernando Gallard said there was “no update at his time.”

Ongoing discussions sought

Still, Camelot officials don’t think discussions are dead.

“We still anticipate at some point hearing from the district again with respect to Germantown High,” said Kirk Dorn, Camelot’s spokesperson.

Dorn isn’t surprised by the Germantown United meeting. During Camelot’s public pitch to the community, some residents said they wanted to explore other options. He’s far from excited about the gathering, though.

“By comparison, they’re not going to find a better managed program or one with higher standards than Camelot,” he said. “But, let’s see what they come up with.”

Ultimately, the district wants to sell off its inventory of nearly 30 closed school buildings to help address its ongoing financial crisis during this school year and beyond.

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