Chester, PA (July 24, 2012) The Chester Fund for Education and the Arts, a private foundation also known as The Chester Fund (TCF), announced today that a charter has been approved for the Chester Charter School for the Arts (CCSA), which will open its doors on September 10th. The new school will welcome students in Kindergarten through Grade 6 this fall and any child residing in the Chester Upland School District is
eligible to attend.


“I am thrilled that we have the opportunity to build a great school for the beautiful children of Chester,” said John Alston, founder and president of The Chester Fund, which will raise funds to provide specialized arts and academic programming at the new school.


In 2008, through John Alston’s efforts, The Chester Fund formed a partnership with the Chester Upland School District to create the Chester Upland School of the Arts (CUSA).  Last fall, however, CUSA’s educational programs were compromised and 70% of CUSA’s staff was furloughed because of massive cuts in the school district budget and state education funding. This inability to protect staff and programming was the key reason TCF decided to terminate the partnership with the district and apply to open a charter school.  In January, the Chester Upland School Board voted to deny The Chester Fund’s application to open a charter school and in the spring, TCF brought an appeal before the Charter School Appeal Board in Harrisburg.  The Appeal Board announced its decision today.


Maurice Eldridge, chair of The Chester Fund board stated, “I am delighted that the Appeal Board in Harrisburg has awarded our charter to create the Chester Charter School for the Arts. We are working to provide the finest education program possible for the children of Chester. They have great potential and deserve to realize it. We look forward to fostering their growth and hope as well to become a beacon of success for the district itself through collaboration with its other schools.”


Anna Hadgis will serve as principal of Chester Charter School for the Arts, which will offer full-day Kindergarten and classes in music, dance, drama, physical education, Spanish and the visual arts as part of the core curriculum. An extended after-school program in academics and the arts will begin in January 2013. The new Chester Charter School for the Arts, which will be located at 200 Commerce Drive in Aston, will grow by one grade each year through Grade 12 and will also include a Pre-Kindergarten 3 and
4-year-old program starting in 2013.



The Chester Fund for Education and the Arts, a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization founded by Swarthmore College music professor John Alston, is dedicated to providing Chester’s disadvantaged children with a first-rate, arts-enriched education that will prepare them for college and success in life. Dr. Alston is also the Founder and Director of the acclaimed Chester Children’s Chorus. Maurice Eldridge, Vice President of College and Community Relations at Swarthmore College, chairs The Chester Fund Board of Directors.

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