Cyber school refutes state's allegations

The Philly-based Frontier Virtual Charter High School -- which on Thursday surrendered its charter, rather than face a state revocation hearing -- released this statement shortly after 5 p.m. Friday:

July 6, 2012:

It is with profound sadness that the Board of Frontier Virtual Charter High School voted at yesterday’s Board meeting to voluntarily surrender its Charter to the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

This difficult decision was reached by the Board and was ultimately precipitated by several factors. From its inception, Frontier made numerous overtures to PDE for assistance with the operations of its institution, each of which was rebuked or ignored. After the conclusion of its first – admittedly difficult – year of operation, PDE notified Frontier on June 13, 2012 that the PDE wanted the school to voluntarily surrender its charter.

At that time, Frontier asked PDE what grounds the revocation was going to be based on, but was told that PDE was not willing to inform the school of those grounds. Thereafter, Secretary Tomalis transmitted a letter to Frontier identifying some of the issues being considered by PDE in our revocation.

After review of these issues – several of which were in error – Frontier was prepared to fight the revocation. The Board believes in the mission of this organization and wanted to see the community we served continue to receive the help we were providing.

Frontier then presented an offered compromise to PDE to alleviate the Department’s concern regarding the operations of Frontier. This proposal, which in part included a temporary suspension of our charter while we demonstrated to PDE that we were prepared to educate our students, was flatly rejected by PDE with no counter.

Accompanying the rejection of our proposed compromise, PDE transmitted a copy of the filed Notice of Revocation and for the first time revealed the allegations against Frontier – many of which are inaccurate. By way of example, there is no evidence to support the allegation that Frontier was not open for weeks at a time or that Frontier disregarded the basic educational needs of its students.

There is no proof that any expenditure at the school was improper or not for student’s benefit. PDE cites the purchase of transportation tokens as a ground for revoking our charter when the tokens were provided to our students so they could attend one of our learning centers and obtain additional assistance with their school work.

In response to PDE’s unwavering desire to close Frontier, the Board held a meeting and determined what all of its options were for a response to this effort to revoke the School’s Charter. After long consideration, the Board came to the difficult decision to voluntarily surrender the School’s Charter.

This decision was made, in large part, because the cost of a lengthy revocation fight is beyond the means of Frontier at this time and PDE vowed to try to cut off any funding coming to the school in the 2012-2013 school year, if the revocation hearings were initiated.

Additionally, the Board of the School, considering the difficult path forward through revocation proceedings with the full weight of the Pennsylvania Department of Education against them, concluded that the deck was stacked against the school with no real opportunity for an impartial hearing or ultimate success.

The Board is grateful to Dr. John Craig for his leadership in this difficult year for the School. His dedication, integrity, hard work, and perseverance are appreciated and honored by the Board. We at Frontier will assist its students in finding new placements for the 2012-2013 school year and beyond.

We wish our students the best of luck in their future endeavors and thank all of our supporters in the community.

Any questions regarding Frontier Virtual Charter High School (FVCHS) should be directed to Brian Leinhauser, Esq., Solicitor for FVCHS.

Released on behalf of Frontier Virtual Charter High School