Two charter schools take up residency at St. William’s parish

The students of St. William’s parish won’t return this year, but the classroom bells are still ringing.

After closing its doors for good in June as part of an archdiocesan-wide plan to consolidate resources, the Catholic parish is leasing its two buildings to two charter schools.

First Philadelphia Charter School and Tacony Academy Charter High School have taken up residency, First Philadelphia Dean of Students Debbie Smith and St. William’s Pastor Rev. Joe Watson announced at Tuesday’s Lawncrest Civic Association meeting.

First Philadelphia has a K-8 school on the 4300-block of Tacony Street, and Smith said she hopes the new school will “grow a grade each year.” Currently, the Lawncrest-based charter is only serving students in kindergarten through second grade.

Tacony Academy High School is a follow-up to the elementary and middle school on the 1300-block of Rhawn Street in Burholme.

Though Smith told probing LCA members she isn’t “privy to” information about the lease, Watson informed those at the meeting that the schools each have a year-long lease in the two St. William’s buildings – a fine alternative to having two vacancies on Rising Sun Avenue.

“My hope,” Watson said, “is that [the lease] will go beyond one year.”

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