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Edison gets $1.6 M for students it doesn’t have

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

The Notebook has learned that because of a minimum enrollment guarantee in the District’s contract with Edison Schools Inc., Edison is receiving payment for 2,196 more students than are actually enrolled at its 20 Philadelphia schools.

At a rate of $750 per student, the minimum enrollment clause provides an extra $1,647,000 this year for the for-profit school management company.

Edison has 10,395 students in its schools but its contract guarantees payment for 12,591, a District spokesperson said. The total Edison contract with the District is for over $9 million, or $908 per enrolled student.

While Edison still runs 20 schools, its enrollment has declined since the District hired Edison in 2002, when that figure was over 13,000.

Only two of the District’s school management companies, Edison and Universal, have minimum enrollment guarantees. Universal is receiving a much smaller adjustment, covering 87 students.

Contracts with school managers had been targeted for reduction by 10 percent as part of district wide budget cuts approved by the School Reform Commission in November.

That move was supposed to save $1.8 million, but no savings have yet been realized from these contracts, according to Cecilia Cummings, District senior vice president of communications and community relations, because the contracts do not allow the District to unilaterally reduce management fees. “We are still negotiating,” she said.

An Edison spokesperson affirmed that both the SRC’s 10 percent cut and fees from the enrollment guarantee are under discussion.

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