Charter renewal process begins for Phoenixville's Renaissance Academy

Renaissance Academy in Phoenixville. Photo by John Strickler/21st Century Media
Renaissance Academy School CEO Gina Guarino Buli speaks about the construction of the new school at its groundbreaking ceremony. Photo by John Strickler/21st Century Media

PHOENIXVILLE — Per state law, the Phoenixville Area School Board will review Renaissance Academy’s charter soon and decided whether to renew it for another five years.

Both Renaissance Academy’s CEO and Phoenixville Area School District’s superintendent think the charter will be renewed.

“In all honesty, at the end of the day, I expect you to approve the renewal for the charter school,” Phoenixville Superintendent Alan Fegley told the school board at its Aug. 14 workshop.

“We certainly meet all the data,” Renaissance CEO Gina Guarino Buli told 21st Century Media Tuesday.


2014-15 will be the 15th year since Renaissance Academy opened its doors, meaning this will be the third time it has gone up for renewal, said Fegley.

Buli said the school’s academic scores, enrollment numbers (1,022 students with a “sold waiting list”) and fiscal numbers make them qualified for a renewal. Additionally, Buli said they have no outstanding legal matters.

“All the areas they look at, we feel we’re in good standing,” said Buli.

Renaissance Academy is scheduled to move from the building it occupies on the Valley Forge Christian College campus to a newly-constructed space at Franklin Commons on the north side next year.

Every five years since a charter is established, the original approving body must review a school and decided whether or not to review the charter, according to state law.

Although this will be the third renewal of Renaissance Academy’s charter, Fegley said when he and his staff explored what process the district followed in past renewals, he found none.

“We were basically told we had to do it,” said board member Betsy Ruch.

“You have to do it through the right process,” Fegley said.

As such, Phoenixville’s Director of Continuous Improvement, Joe Antonio, is tasked with coming up with a process for the board to follow.

An approval or rejection is likely to come in January or February. Fegley said they’re “getting ahead of the required time line.”

“I don’t think it’s an unfair process,” Buli said. “Every district does it differently so there’s not a standard across the state. It’s a matter of communicating with each other.”

Buli looks at the renewal process as an opportunity for the school district’s officials to become better acquainted with Renaissance Academy and better understand the school’s plan for the present and the future.

Follow Frank Otto on Twitter @fottojourno