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Hebrew academy’s religion at issue

Hart district officials want proof proposed charter school would be secular

Posted: February 1, 2010 10:49 p.m.
Updated: February 2, 2010 4:55 a.m.
 
Hart district board members on Wednesday will consider approving a proposed Hebrew-language charter school amid concerns the academy would focus on religion.

William S. Hart Union High School District board members decided last month to postpone the vote on the Albert Einstein Academy for Letters, Arts and Sciences so that school founder Rabbi Mark Blazer, of Temple Beth Ami, could show the school would not be religious.

The law prohibits public school districts from chartering with religious schools.

The school’s supporters say that the Einstein Academy will provide students an opportunity to teach languages that are not offered within the Hart district — Hebrew, Latin, Greek and Arabic. Critics have said that the school will have a religious influence.

If approved Wednesday, the college preparatory school would open with grades 7 to 9 in fall 2010 and school leaders would add a grade each year until it became a 9-12 grade high school. The school would have 75 students per grade, allowing for a total of 225 students its first year.

The public charter school would be free and open to everyone.

Students would not have to be Jewish to enroll nor would the school have a religious base.

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