Describing the kind of student he used to be, Jermari Murphy doesn't sugarcoat the story.

"I had a horrible temper when I was younger," Murphy said.

That temper led to fights in school, and that got him suspended more than once. But, for his seventh-grade year, Murphy transferred from the York City School District to New Hope Academy Charter School.

The first year was a little rough, he said. But New Hope "really gave me an opportunity to grow as a person," Murphy said.

Now 18, Murphy is a member of what could be New Hope's last graduating class. He's been accepted to several colleges and plans to study either sports management or journalism.

On Tuesday, Commonwealth Court affirmed a state Charter School Appeal Board decision that upheld the school district's decision not to renew New Hope's charter.

That means New Hope will close after the academic year ends on June 10 unless an appeal to the state Supreme Court is successful.

"It honestly disgusts me that they would do that to us," Murphy said. "They're not just taking away a school. They're taking away opportunity."

Two mothers' views: Murphy's mother, Rachael Riddle, said she's hoping New Hope officials fight the court's decision — especially because she's got another son, an eighth-grader, at New Hope.

If New Hope's days are indeed numbered, Riddle said, she's likely to move her family out of town.


Riddle said she's wanted to move for several years, but she stayed in York because her sons were thriving at New Hope.

"He will not go back to York City schools," she said of her youngest son. "There's no reason to stay here anymore."

Heather Tracey said she also won't send her 16-year-old son, a junior at New Hope, to William Penn Senior High School next year. Her daughter, an eighth-grader at New Hope, had already planned to attend the York County School of Technology next year.

Unless New Hope finds a way to stay open, Heather Tracey said she plans to move her family out of the city, even though rent in the suburbs is sure to cost more.

"We'll have to let some things go that we have now," she said. "We have to do what's right for our kids."

'Very disappointed': David Archer, the parent of a seventh-grader at New Hope, said he's very disappointed in the court's decision.

Archer said his family moved to York last summer. They live in the Central York School District but chose to send their son to New Hope.

He and his wife were impressed with the intimate learning environment at New Hope more commonly found at private schools, Archer said.

"My son was a kid that liked school, but he became a kid in the last year who loved school," Archer said. "My son was pushed academically this year further than I can personally remember."

This past year, Archer coached New Hope's boys' basketball team, which earned a District AAA championship title in February.

Murphy, a member of that team, said he hopes New Hope officials fight the court's ruling.

"That's something I've learned at New Hope ... to always stand up for what you believe in," he said. "I feel like it would be a slap in the face to just walk away from this situation and not fight it to the very end."

New Hope officials should do what's best for students, Archer said.

If that means filing an appeal to the state Supreme Court, Archer said he and his son will support that decision.

"The one thing that he's learned is that you stand up for what you believe in," Archer said.

— Reach Erin James at