The City of Brotherly Bickering
September 16, 2009
A current proposal from the Philadelphia School Reform Commission (SRC) would force charter schools that want to increase their enrollments or reconfigure their grade levels to do so as part of the contract renewal process (which occurs every five years), instead of through a separate, less-regulated process of amendment. Under the new rules, charters seeking to expand would need to submit, along with their regular renewal paperwork, a supplementary form specifying their academic, financial, managerial, and other plans for expansion; they would also need to have made AYP for at least the preceding two years. Charter operators say this process is unduly burdensome, will stunt their growth, and cripple their nimbleness. "If the same criteria were applied to neighborhood district schools that this charter-school policy sets, none of [them] would meet the mark," said David Rossi, chief executive of Esperanza Academy Charter School. It’s certainly reasonable to expect charters (and other schools) that want to grow or change in material ways to be able to justify the alteration. But couldn’t the SRC come up with a speedy method for vetting those justifications?
"Plan would limit charter schools' independence," by Dafney Tales, The Philadelphia Daily News, September 11, 2009