TRUXTON, N.Y. – The group behind the proposed Truxton Academy Charter School is continuing to pursue the project despite several setbacks.
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Earlier this month, the group’s board of trustees voted to submit a third application to the state for a charter school after receiving a second rejection letter from the New York State Department of Education.
The board plans to submit its third application in February through the SUNY Charter Institute.
The effort to form a charter school began last summer, after the Homer Central School District announced it would close Hartnett Elementary School, located in Truxton.
At the time, district officials proposed repurposing the building into a new tech high school that would be operated by Onondaga-Cortland-Madison BOCES. The total cost of that project was projected to be $5.8 million.
Voters in the Homer school district rejected the project in a referendum vote held in December.
In June, the district’s board of education officially voted to close the school. District officials plan to sell the building at an auction in the coming weeks, though an official date has not been set (The school board held a closed door meeting regarding the auction at its meeting last week).
With the fate of the Hartnett building uncertain, the board of trustees for the Truxton Academy Charter School says they are looking at all possibilities.
“With this [building] gone, that’s a big blow to the community,” says Patty Dawson, organizer for the charter school group. “It’s something I always think the town has assumed we would have here.”
Dawson says the town has relied on the building and the property for its playground, athletic fields and recreational facilities.
Still, Dawson says there’s a possibility that a private individual will step in to purchase the property on behalf of the group.
Jeanetta Laudermilk, who serves on the group’s board of trustees, says the closing of Hartnett has forced many parents to make tough choices regarding their children’s education.
“Every family has made a difficult decision because of this school closing,” Laudermilk said. “It has not been a good year.”
Dawson says the charter school would provide project-based learning opportunities for students in grades K-5, and help fill the void that the Hartnett school has left behind.
“These children at Hartnett were a community,” Dawson said. “Kids knew every single person in the school, the teachers all knew them and their families. That is something that really benefits kids.”
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