SRC to Rule on All 39 New Charter Applications at Special Meeting

It will happen on February 18th at School District headquarters.

Philadelphia School District Building

Photo | Jeff Fusco

The School Reform Commission has scheduled a special meeting to approve or reject each of 39 applications to start new charter schools in Philadelphia.

The February 18th meeting is bound to be controversial: Public school advocates say new charter schools draw resources away from public schools, making it harder for students in those schools to succeed. The Philadelphia School Partnership has offered to give the district $35 million to ease the costs of approving new charters, as school reform proponents say Philly schools have already failed students, who deserve a chance to choose an education that better fits their needs. Skeptics say that money covers only a fraction of the money the district will lose.

The meeting will be 3:30 p.m. on February 18th at Philadelphia School District headquarters, 440 N. Broad St.

Here’s the announcement from the SRC:

The School Reform Commission (SRC) will hold a special meeting to consider 39 new charter school applications on Feb. 18 at 3:30 p.m. The SRC will either grant or deny each charter application at the meeting.

All applicants will have an opportunity to speak before the SRC for three minutes. The SRC will also allow time for the public to speak before the vote. Interested speakers must register in advance by calling 215-400-4010. The public comment will be limited to 39 speakers.

Additionally, the SRC will accept public comment in support of or in opposition to the new charter applications until Feb. 16 at noon. Letters should be postmarked by Feb. 14 and sent to [email protected] or 440 N. Broad St., Suite 101, Philadelphia, PA 19130.

All applications for new charter schools were filed with the SRC in November. The special meeting is the final step in the SRC’s new charter application process, which included a comprehensive, rigorous review that resulted in 39 separate evaluation reports containing over 540 pages in total. The SRC held 79 public hearings, recorded more than 12 hours of public testimony and received more than 300 written comments. All applications and evaluation reports can be viewed on the School District’s website (www.philasd.org).

The Pennsylvania Charter School Law requires a public hearing on each application within 45 days after the Charter Schools Office receives the application, and a vote on each application no later than 75 days after the first public hearing, unless otherwise agreed to by the parties.

A list of applicants that will be considered at the special meeting, including the proposed grade configuration and size of the charter school, is attached to this press release.

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