Friday, June 25, 2010

11 Phila. schools granted new charters

Some great news from Philadelphia.  Here's the update from KIPP Philadelphia founder Marc Mannella:



Today at the SRC meeting, the School District voted YES on KIPP's expansion proposal!  This means that we finally have the last piece of the puzzle in place, and KIPP Imagine Elementary Academy and KIPP DuBois Collegiate Academy will officially both be opening this coming August.  Of course, there's a trick… we were only approved for 150 students combined, not the 230 we asked for… but despite the chaos that has thrown our budgets into, we will make it work.     

We need to call what happened at the SRC today what it was: A victory for the children of the City of Philadelphia.  We have many people to thank, and many reasons to be thankful, and over the coming days and weeks we will be sure to do so to each and every person appropriately.  But first, tonight, we will celebrate the fact that 150 more students will be able to attend a KIPP school next year.  Then tomorrow we will roll up our sleeves, and get to work.   

And here's an excerpt from the local news story:

Mannella and other charter officials contend that district staffers told them during a conference call Friday that the commission hadn't planned to vote on their requests Wednesday and would not consider their applications to add 1,515 spots until this summer.

The commission's next regularly scheduled meeting is in August, and angry charter school advocates had circulated e-mails, made phone calls, and mobilized supporters to turn out for Wednesday's meeting to urge the SRC to consider their requests so they could be ready for fall.

But Superintendent Arlene Ackerman insisted that the commission had planned to vote on the charter renewals as planned Wednesday.

"It wasn't a course correction," she told Mannella. "The SRC never, ever directed the staff that this vote was not going to take place on June 16."

After the SRC meeting, Benjamin W. Rayer, who oversees the district's charter office, denied that he had told charter officials in a conference call Friday that the SRC planned to delay voting and took responsibility if there was a misunderstanding.

Charter officials said their own efforts had led to the vote.

"Through a lot of efforts, including through our coalition, we were able to impress upon the staff and the SRC something had to happen" Wednesday, said Guy Ciarrocchi, executive director of the Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools.


11 Phila. schools granted new charters

The Philadelphia School Reform Commission said Wednesday that 11 charter schools would receive new, five-year operating charters once they met a series of conditions.

And, in what one charter operator called a welcome "midcourse correction," the SRC voted to allow 17 other charters to expand in the fall.

"This makes a huge difference in the lives of a lot of children," Marc Mannella, chief executive officer of KIPP Philadelphia Schools, told the commissioners.


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