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Busy spring for charters: Applicants and renewals

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

The fates of more than 30 current and proposed charter schools are in the hands of the School Reform Commission this spring.

The District received 17 new charter school applications last fall and chose six finalists for review at a public session in February. The six include a school for foster care youth; a second KIPP campus, in West Philadelphia; and a school to prepare students for careers in entertainment management.

A charter review panel will make recommendations on the applications to the School Reform Commission, which will "most likely happen in May," said Barbara Farley of the School District Office of Communications.

In May the SRC will also revisit 11 charter school applications that were deferred from May 2007.

Meanwhile, the District’s charter school office is close to completing its work on 16 charter renewal applications. The schools up for renewal are Architecture and Design; Christopher Columbus; Discovery; de Hostos; Freire; Germantown Settlement; Imani Education Circle; KIPP; Maritime Academy; MaST; Math, Civics & Sciences; Philadelphia Academy; Renaissance; Renaissance Advantage; Universal Institute; and Young Scholars.

The charter office will make recommendations to the SRC about whether to approve, approve with conditions, or deny each renewal application, Farley said.

Charter school enrollment in Philadelphia has grown to almost 31,000 students in 61 schools, with another 2,500 students enrolled in online "cyber charters." Two additional charters are already approved for opening in 2008-09.

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