PCAPS has released the following letter urging the School Reform Commission to reject all charter applications at its upcoming meeting. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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
American Federation of Teachers PA
Boat People SOS
Media Mobilizing Project
Philadelphia Council AFL-CIO
Philadelphia Federation of Teachers
Philadelphia Student Union
Youth United for Change
AFSCME, District 1199-C
Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools
PA Working Families
Philly School Counselors United
Friends of Jackson Elementary
Philadlelphia Jobs with Justice
Education Voters PA
Catherine Collins, public school parent,Co-founder & Moderator of the Mt. Airy Parents’ Network
Janet McHale, Parent of a 6th grader
Nick Palazzolo, Educator