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TLC Arts sets information sessions for proposed Bucks charter school


Dozens of prospective students have pre-enrolled, written letters of support or expressed interest in an arts-focused charter high school proposed for a 40,000-square-foot building in Bensalem Township.

The hope is for even more student interest as the nonprofit organization TLC Arts LLC sets three more information sessions on Oct. 14, 21 and 28.

The organization plans to open TLC Buck Arts Charter High School at 1000 Northbrook Drive for the 2019-2020 school year. Officials anticipate at least 250 ninth- through 12th-grade students the first year with a maximum capacity of 450 students.

“Part of my philosophy is smaller is better,” Dr. Thomas Lubben, TLC Arts founder and CEO said. “Nobody will get lost in our school.”

Lubben has worked over the last 20 years to open four arts-focused charter schools in the Lehigh Valley. The high school in Bethlehem draws from 45 school districts – including some in Bucks County – which is why Lubben sought to open a school to specifically serve arts students in Bucks County. To date, the Bucks site has drawn interest from students in more than 20 nearby school districts.

The Bucks school will offer majors in the areas of dance, figure skating, music, theater, literary arts and visual arts. Students will spend half of their day studying in their major area of interest. Judging from his other schools, Lubben said dance will be the most popular of the majors. The Bucks school will house four floors, offering three dance studios, as well as performance space, a music room, art room and multiple classrooms and office space.

The charter school would require more credits (32 in all) than a traditional high school, while maintaining high academic standards. All of the academic teachers will be certified, while arts teachers would be either certified or have the highest level of applicable experience possible.

“We hold ourselves to national artistic standards,” Lubben said. “We’re really teaching at almost the collegiate level.”

Like traditional public schools, charter schools are open to the public, free of tuition. Students may complete a non-binding pre-enrollment now, but acceptance will hinge on a successful audition. Students who live within 10 miles of their home school district are eligible for bussing.

Others who live outside of that radius are able to attend but would be responsible for their own transportation.

TLC Arts presented a charter application recently. Since the school location is within Bensalem Township, the Bensalem Township School Board is required to hold a hearing by Nov. 10. A final decision would be due within 75 days of the hearing.