Freire Schools has withdrawn its request to expand and put a charter school in Newark.
Nate Durant, co-head of school at Freire Charter School-Wilmington, said in a note to state education officials that the move didn’t seem smart at the moment, when schools were grappling with many issues.
“Positive impact can only happen when we are all working together,” the letter said. “But we are not together right now, and any division hurts our kids.”
Freire, which also has three schools in Philadelphia, released a copy of the letter in an email.
Officials there declined to comment further.
The letter was addressed to Department of Education Secretary Mark Holodick, the Delaware State Board of Education, Charter School Accountability Committee, and the Charter Schools Office.
“The department, through the Charter School Accountability Committee, worked closely with Freire Charter School regarding its application for a new charter school in the Newark area,” said Alison May, spokeswoman for the Department of Education.
“We respect the school’s decision to withdraw its application at this time and will continue to provide the necessary supports to Freire and all of our charter schools as they focus on providing strong educational services to Delaware students.”
Durant said that the intention behind bringing a second Freire school to Delaware was to create a positive impact on Delaware students and families that were looking to find the best option for their education.
He said that a sense of togetherness is vital during this “trying time” for educators, schools, communities, and the state of Delaware.
The note comes after the Christina School Board voted to ask the state to put a moratorium on new or expanding charter schools as it grapples with getting the Wilmington Learning Collaborative up and running, as well as other issues.
The move has drawn fire from parents and others who favor parents having the choice of a charter school for their children.
“We ask that you join us in realigning so that the “us” versus “them” feeling dissolves,” the letter said, “and we can work together to provide the strongest education possible for every Delaware student.”
Durant said in the letter that Freire Wilmington is still committed and determined to the families and students of the school and their educational excellence.
Freire Wilmington opened its doors in 2015 with support from the Longwood Foundation, the Welfare Foundation, and the US Department of Education. It has 2,000 students in its four schools.
Betsy Price is a Wilmington freelance writer who has 40 years of experience, including 15 at The News Journal in Delaware.
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