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Cyber school hearing delayed

January 29, 2002

Cyber school hearing delayed



By STACEY DANZUSO
chbbureau@innernet.net


CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A temporary court order barring a cyber school from enrolling local students will remain in place until a new hearing date is set.

Following a lawsuit filed by five Franklin County school districts earlier this month challenging the legality of the charter cyber school Einstein Academy, Judge John Walker imposed a temporary injunction and scheduled a hearing for Monday.

The hearing was postponed, however, at the request of both parties, and the preliminary injunction will continue until either party requests a new hearing date, Walker wrote Monday in his order.

The injunction prevents Einstein Academy from soliciting or enrolling students who would otherwise attend Chambersburg Area, Greencastle-Antrim, Tuscarora, Waynesboro Area and Shippensburg Area school districts.

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The injunction also enjoins Einstein Academy from attempting to collect from the school districts for any amounts they were previously billed or to collect from the secretary of education.

Monday's hearing was intended to determine whether Walker would continue the temporary injunction.

Einstein Academy serves 2,400 students statewide and a few dozen in Franklin County.

Cyber schools educate students online in their homes through computer technology and Internet access.

The lawsuit, like others filed against the cyber school, claims there is a controversy over the "constitutionality of the charter school law, obligations of public school districts to make payments to Einstein Academy and whether Einstein Academy obtained a proper and lawful charter."

In addition, the lawsuit states even if the charter school law is valid, cyber schools are not authorized and Einstein Academy should cease operations.

Attorneys for Einstein Academy asked the court to dismiss the case for lack of jurisdiction or stay the case pending resolution of a class-action case filed by the Pennsylvania School Boards Association in a brief filed last week.

Einstein Academy is owned and operated by the National Organization For Children, Inc., a nonprofit corporation. The school received its charter in November 2000 from the Borough of Morrisville School District in Bucks County, Pa., according to the lawsuit.

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