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Wonderland Charter Closing After Review By School District Uncovers 'Systemic' Failures

Wonderland Charter School sign

The State College Area School District had begun the process that could have led to the shut-down of Wonderland Charter School. But before a hearing could be scheduled, Wonderland announced it was closing.

The school district’s attorney, Scott Etter, said the school district had begun the process of revoking the school’s charter because of what he described as “systemic, institutionalized and long-standing” failures, particularly in special education.

“Wonderland operated as if it was a private school that could do what it wanted to do when it wanted to do it," Etter said. "Rather than as a public school, which was required to comply with many laws.”

Charters are public schools that receive public funding for each student who attends. Wonderland was a K-5 school and has had students from districts including State College, Bellefonte and Penns Valley.

Etter said the district is still reviewing the information and deciding how to proceed. He said he thinks there are many issues that for a public entity “were of great concern and I think of interest to the DA, to the auditor general and to the ethics commission.”

The charter school did not return a call seeking comment.

Anne Danahy is a reporter at WPSU. She was a reporter for nearly 12 years at the Centre Daily Times in State College, Pennsylvania, where she earned a number of awards for her coverage of issues including the impact of natural gas development on communities.