No New Charters | Sign-on Letter

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PCAPS has released the following letter urging the School Reform Commission to reject all charter applications at its upcoming meeting. Please contact us at pcaps201@gmail.com if you or your organization would like to sign-on.

The Philadelphia School District is in severe financial crisis.  The current school budget doesn’t provide for enough teachers, counselors, nurses, librarians, paraprofessionals, and other school support staff; it doesn’t provide for enough books, building repairs or the supports that students need. Our district currently cannot pay for an adequate education for our children.  Two charter schools have shut down in the middle of this school year, and there are only two auditors to review the finances of 84 remaining charters and the entire district.

The 2015-16 budget is currently $80M short, just to get us to the far less-than-adequate budget of this year.

On Wednesday, February 18, the School Reform Commission will vote on 39 new charter applications.  Adding one charter seat costs the district $7,000.  The average cost to the district of approving one new charter application would be $7 Million in the first year. If all charter applications were approved, the total cost would be $273M in year 1; if 5-10 charters are approved, the cost would be $35M-$70M.

  •  At a time when we remain one of only three states without a full and fair funding formula;
  •  At a time when  $1 billion was taken from PA public schools, with Philadelphia taking the largest cut of over $265 million;
  •  At a time when there is no longer a charter school reimbursement in PA; and
  •  At a time when our district is beyond broke and can’t manage its existing portfolio of charter schools,

We the undersigned, call on the School Reform Commission to vote down all new charter applications at its February 18th meeting.  Even one new charter is one additional cost that the district has no real plan or the budget to cover. Philadelphia public school students cannot handle any additional cuts at a time when they struggle in over crowded classrooms, and see their schools closed and teachers, counselors, nurses, and school support staff laid off .

We also call on the SRC to reject the money from the Philadelphia School Partnership for charter expansion.  This money, which has already been pledged by the Partnership, is nowhere near enough to cover the cost of charter expansion and certainly has too many unknown strings attached.  Instead of PSP giving $35 million to the school district to help pay for charter schools, we suggest investing that money in supporting traditional public schools and the development of sustainable community schools.

Signed,

Mayoral candidate James Kenney

Mayoral candidate Judge Nelson Diaz

Mayoral candidate Douglas Oliver

Mayoral candidate Lynne Abraham

Council President Darrell Clarke

Councilman Wilson Goode, Jr.

Councilman William Greenlee

City Council-At-Large Candidate Helen Gym

City Council-At-Large Candidate Isaiah Thomas

City Council-At-Large Candidate Sherri Cohen

City Council-At-Large Candidate Paul Steinke

City Council-At-Large Candidate Kristen Combs

State Rep. Curtis Thomas

State Rep James Roebuck

State Rep. Cherelle Parker

State Rep. Michelle Brownlee

State Rep. Leslie Acosta

State Senator Shirley Kitchen

State Senaotr Vincent Hughes

ACTION United

American Federation of Teachers PA

Boat People SOS

Media Mobilizing Project

Neighborhood Networks

Philadelphia Council AFL-CIO

Philadelphia Federation of Teachers

Philadelphia Student Union

SEIU 32BJ

Youth United for Change

AFSCME, District 1199-C

Parents United

Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools

URBAN Philly

PA Working Families

Philly School Counselors United

JUNTOS

Friends of Jackson Elementary

Philadlelphia Jobs with Justice

Education Voters PA

Catherine Collinspublic school parent,Co-founder & Moderator of the Mt. Airy Parents’ Network

Janet McHale, Parent of a 6th grader

Nick Palazzolo, Educator

Lisa Hantman

Dennis Biondo

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5 Responses to No New Charters | Sign-on Letter

  1. Teacher says:

    Before they open any new charters I would like to see the people responsible for essentially stealing money from the public put on trial … Like those from Walter D. Palmer. The situation with that school and the performance ability of the students is absolute neglect of educational responsibility. Before any new charter is approved there should be an investigation and an example made of the people who make a mockery of educating students.

  2. Markl Levin says:

    The students at traditional schools deserve fair funding, and quality teachers before additional charters schools are approved. Please don’t cause further financial crisis by expanding additional charters. This will clearly create disastrous results for Philadelphia School District students.

  3. Lisa Hantman says:

    I agree.

  4. Morris Reich says:

    charter schools are taking money away from Philadelphia public schools.

  5. Pat Pezick says:

    The school district cannot afford any new charters. I hope the SRC will ignore the Republicans who are in favor of this idea and vote for no new charters at this time.
    ALL of our children need to be educated fairly.

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