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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Lehigh Valley Academy Needs Elbow Room in Hanover Township

There are no more than 25 students to a class. They must wear uniforms. Their school day is one hour longer, and school year is ten days longer, than most other schools. There are no athletic facilities on site, and students who want to play sports will have to do that in their own school district. Foreign language instruction starts in kindergarten.

This is Lehigh Valley Academy, a K-12 Charter school located on Valley Center Parkway in Hanover Township. When it first started in 2002, there were just 185 students. Student census now is 970, and there are actually several hundred students on a waiting list, according to Director of Operations Holly Parkinson. She projects the school will grow to 1,300 by 2017.

That's why Parkinson, along with Attorney Joseph Fitzpatrick, appeared before Hanover Township Supervisors on May 24. They are seeking the Board's blessing to a major, 28,000 sq ft expansion, that will add a gymnasium, new cafeteria, library and eight classrooms.

Supervisors had some questions about parking in a courtyard that is also used for recesses, and the Academy is willing to ban parking at that location.

Students from 17 different school districts currently attend Lehigh Valley Academy, which charges no tuition.

Supervisors will decide whether to grant the expansion at their June 14 meeting.


Anonymous said...

Private and parochial schools are available at no extra cost to tax payers. School choice is fine. But don't make me pay for it.

Monkey Momma said...

This is a great school, for the record. I don't send my kids there, but I have two close friends who send their children to LVA. Academically, the school is very rigorous - much better than the Bethlehem public schools. This is exactly the kind of school we need to be developing in this country.

Anonymous said...

Then fix the already existent public schools. This school is an end run around teachers unions.

Anonymous said...

I call BS. No way this school is doing as well as claimed.

They do not pay enough, do not have marble floors and boondoggle pools. Not nearly enough administrators, crack smoking porn watching principals, kid beating cheerleader banging athletic coaches or picket line walking, clock watching union thugs.

No way. You, sir, are simply a tea-bagging propagandist.

Cicero said...

Anonymous 8:23AM
I do hope you are out there doing exactly what you preach. If you are interested in how far we have fallen allow me to suggest a book "The 5000 Year Leap". Tell me why we do not have student and teacherdress codes in our public schools. Explain "lead teachers" to me. Why is there a copying center at schools are the teaches unable to use the copier. Why is there a team that hands out lesson plans to the teachers. I could go on but I hope you get the point and get out to your local school board meetings they really need our assistance

Bernie O'Hare said...

Monkey Momma,
I'd agree with everything you say, but find the lack of sports to be a negative. Other than that, it sounds like a wonderful school.

Bernie O'Hare said...


This school is funded by the child's school district, with 80% of the money that would be given to the school district if the child went there. So you are not paying any more for it than if the child were going to that school district.

In addition, this school is NOT tax exempt.

I just wish it had a real athletic program.

Alan Earnshaw said...


Charter schools are funded at 80% of the average student cost of the sending district. Average student cost = total expenditures / number of students. It is not the actual cost of educating a student.

Right now, East Penn pays charter schools about $8300/year for each resident student. When one student leaves for a charter school, only a few hundred dollars in actual costs leave with that student. (We still have the same number of teachers, custodians, building principals, etc. We save money by purchasing fewer workbooks and supplies, but that's about it.) Taxpayers most definitely are spending more on charter schools than if those students were attending district schools.

Cyber charter schools are even worse. East Penn offers an online education that costs taxpayers about $4500/year, but we still have to pay cyber charter schools the full $8300. Cyber charter schools are costing East Penn taxpayers about $1 million per year above the costs of providing an in-district cyber education.

Charter schools are the right choice for some families. When run well, they can be valuable education partners. LVA is a good example of a well run school with an excellent educational program. I can't say the same for far too many other charter schools.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, I second Alan Earnshaw's comments, they're accurate. There is very definitely a financial impact on the taxpayer.

The Banker

Bernie O'Hare said...


I thank you for your comment. Your experiences as a member and leader on the East Penn School Board are invaluable, and I appreciate you sharing them.

I stand corrected.

It appears that the public money paid to charter schools does impact the taxpayer.

Is it worth it? In the case of LV Academy, it appears the answer is yes.

I appreciate Banker's insight as well.

Patrick McHenry said...

Anonymous 8:23 said...

This school is an end run around teachers unions.

The teacher unions (along with bloated administrations) are the problem!

The real question is why LVA is able to do it better for less, and why the taxpayers should be forced to continue to fund a broken public school system.

As a society, our commitment should be to seeing that the community's children receive a quality education. Why should it matter if the school is private, charter, parochial, or other?

We should decide how much we are willing to spend on education, divide it up by the number of students, and let the parents make their choice as to where they want to send their kids.

Anonymous said...

Charter schools are an end run around a system that protects teachers' jobs at the expense of choice, competition, and excellence.

Anonymous said...

Public school administrators and teachers absolutely hate private and parochial schools. If those schools went away, the negative impact on taxpayers would be significant. We should encourage people to seek alternative sources of education. Unfortunately, the system works hard to eliminate choice and strengthen the monopoly. And look at the results. We end up with the Barrons of the world and worse.

Anonymous said...


why does LVC appear to better for less? look at their demographic. They have a rather low % free lunch population..and for the time being demographic is destiny. That doesn't mean they don't provide a good education, just not as good as you infer.

Anonymous said...

Your tax dollars go to bus these kids from all over the valley into this industrial park.