A new charter school is eyeing Corona.
The proposed Arista Hellenic Charter School plans to submit paperwork to the state Department of Education by September. If all is approved, the K-5 school hopes to open its doors in September 2014.
“The district is overcrowded and we want to give parents other options,” said retired parochial school teacher John Tiliakos.
If all goes as planned, the school would locate in District 24 across the street from the Transfiguration of Christ Greek Orthodox Church at 98-07 38 Ave.
The more than 20,000-square-foot building, owned by the church, once served as a parochial school, Tiliakos said. It has science and computer labs, classrooms, a gym and a cafeteria.
Plans call for the charter to begin as a kindergarten and first-grade school. From there the charter board intends to grow it into a 300-student elementary school.
Students will be given a general education with a focus on Hellenic studies. As the school matures the charter may intensify its technology program, Tiliakos said.
“I am thrilled that the Letter of Intent for the charter has been accepted and that Arista was invited to submit its full charter application,” Astoria resident Cynthia DeMonte posted on the charter’s facebook page. “What a great addition to the community this will be in September 2014!”
During the last 10 years the District 24 Community Education Council, the advisory board to the Department of Education, has only backed one charter school — Middle Village Preparatory Charter School.
The prep school agreed to send a representative to every CEC meeting. It also has its own building and never tried to set up shop in a public school, and was able to tell the advisory board exactly how the building would be used.
“Kids need a gym, a lab, bathrooms and a place to eat lunch,” CEC 24 President Nick Comaianni said. “If a charter can’t show how they are going to grow I can’t see approving them. There are a lot of questions.”
Comaianni could not say how the board would vote since he hasn’t seen the plans, but the fact that the charter has its own building bodes better than if it didn’t, he said.
The neighboring District 30’s residents have a similar stance on charters.
“The CEC has been very charter-friendly in the sense we want kids to do well,” CEC 30 co-president Isaac Carmignani said. “The co-location seems to be a problem as well as some contention with Success Charter.”
District 30 is home to four charter schools, but two weeks ago parents rallied with the CEC against rumors that Success Academy Charter, a franchise that has several charter schools throughout the city, wished to co-locate in one of their public schools.
Parents spoke out against putting a charter in a building in an already-packed district, the over “charterization” of the area and the idea of a non-community-linked organization running the school.
The Arista Hellenic Charter will hold a town hall about the proposed school at the church on June 22 from 1 to 3 p.m.