"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Monday, May 21, 2007

Philadelphia Charter Schools On the Ropes

With Paul Vallas on his way to New Orleans with his school privatization schemes and his magic for creating ballooning deficits, it looks like the charter scam in Philadelphia is on the ropes. From The Bulletin:
Philadelphia - School Reform Commissioners last week deferred 11 charter school applications and denied eight others. Three of the deferred charter school applications were on the agenda for approval. Commissioner Martin Bednarek put the brakes on these approvals by wondering aloud if the district could afford new charters when it is confronting a $173 million deficit. According to Gov. Ed Rendell and Mayor John Street, it was the one thing the board got right at its May 16 meeting.

"We commend the objections made by the mayor's appointee, Martin Bednarek, with respect to the deferral approval of new charter schools," the governor and mayor said in their joint press release criticizing the SRC's decision to appoint interim administrators without consulting them.

"This district is facing a minimum of $190 million deficit. Additional charter approvals would only balloon the deficit further. Unfortunately, the SRC must first focus on closing this deficit before it turns its attention to any new options for students."

They added, "Recognizing that a significant deficit has already accumulated under the SRC's watch, we believe that surprise decisions that worsen the deficit are unwise and unacceptable, particularly in light of the requests the SRC is now making for substantial increases in financial support from the city and the state."

The three charter school applications that were on the agenda for approval but were deferred instead were Camelot Charter School, an alternative high school for 750 students, the 700-student Pathways-in-Education Charter High School, and the Philadelphia Community Charter School, a 750 student charter.

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