Propel Schools Founder Says Charter Schools 'Built Education Opportunities For A New Generation'

May 14, 2019

Jeremy Resnick co-founded Propel Charter Schools in the basement of a Homestead hospital more than 16 years ago, and helmed the organization as it's expanded to 4,000 students in 13 distinct schools.

Resnick, who stepped down from his role as executive director of the Propel Schools Foundation in April, says his years working in education have brought him a sense of optimism about the relationship between charters and traditional public schools. 

“I think we’ve come to a generation of leaders ... that are used to working with each other, that don’t see each other as adversaries, that recognize that we’re both part of the public school ecosystem in Pennsylvania,” he says. “And I think that that creates more opportunities for families, for working together to tackle the needs of the community to make sure that every child has access to a great public school.”

CEO and superintendent Tina Chekan now oversees both Propel Schools and its foundation. Resnick will remain active in the organization, he says, but the majority of his time will focus on a new initiative called Fund My Future, a children’s savings program that has expanded beyond Propel to be available to any Allegheny County family. 

Grant Street stretches past the the city county building (pictured), the county courthouse and the federal building downtown.
Credit Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Later in the program:   

As summer approaches, gas prices in Pennsylvania have been rising. AAA spokesperson Jim Garrity says higher demand is partly to blame for our region’s $3.08 per gallon price, but the steady increase is also fueled by a change in production costs and the state's higher gas tax. In addition, there are fewer refineries in Pennsylvania than in other parts of the country. 

Nine new candidates are running for seats on the city's school board. Though school board positions are unpaid, members deal with issues like teacher evaluations, closing the achievement gap and balancing the district’s $650 million budget. 90.5 WESA’s Sarah Schneider reports that the candidates have big questions to answer regarding Pittsburgh Public Schools ahead of the May 21st primary.

Grant Street is made up of thousands of red bricks stretching past the City-County Building, the Allegheny County Courthouse and the federal building downtown. The city is working on a multiyear rehabilitation project to replace each of those bricks one at a time. Eric Setzler, chief engineer for the Department of Mobility and Infrastructure, says work began with the stretch between 7th Street and Liberty Avenue and will continue on sections in the worst condition.

And newsrooms closures and contractions across the country have created news deserts, or areas with limited access to local outlets. Point Park University and the Allegheny Foundation announced a new $20,000 investigative journalism fellowship designed to bring attention to the dearth and develop possible solutions. Andrew Conte, director of Point Park's Center for Media Innovation, tells The Confluence's Megan Harris that the fellowship could be the genesis for creative, substantive journalism like that done by the award’s namesake Doris O’Donnell, who reported for many years in Cleveland and Greensburg. The application deadline is June 30.

90.5 WESA's Julia Zenkevich and Avery Keatley contributed to this program. 

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in weekdays at 9 a.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators take an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here or wherever you get your podcasts.