This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
At its May meetings, the School Reform Commission:
- Voted May 12 to approve Renaissance School matches with turnaround teams, pairing seven Renaissance Schools with four different providers. Universal Companies was paired with Bluford and Daroff Elementary; Young Scholars Charter School was matched with Frederick Douglass Elementary; Mastery Charter Schools was placed with Franklin Smedley, William Harrity, and William Mann Elementary Schools; and ASPIRA of PA was paired with John B. Stetson Middle School. Potter-Thomas School was named a Promise Academy.
- Heard from several Renaissance Schools providers and members of School Advisory Councils May 12 about the process. Mastery CEO Scott Gordon commented, “I personally enjoyed meeting the parents and the community members and I feel like with their support we’re going to have 14 fantastic schools next year.” Sahaba Thompson, chair of the Douglass School Advisory Council, admitted that Young Scholars Charter School was not his committee’s first choice, but said that he is pleased. “We’re not upset because all the choices are beautiful choices…We look forward to working together to put these children on the right track.”
- Delayed voting May 26 on a resolution for Johns Hopkins/Diplomas Now to operate West Philadelphia High School as part of the District’s Renaissance Schools initiative. Chairman Robert Archie said only that new details had come to light that warranted the delay. Later, District officials said that a conflict of interest involving members of West’s School Advisory Council was the reason for the vote being put on hold. The earliest the SRC could vote on the provider match is June 9.
- Approved an operating budget for 2010-11 that assumes growth in revenue of more than $130 million. The budget counts on a $90 million proposed increase in the state’s basic education subsidy, which Gov. Rendell and the state assembly support but the state senate opposes. The operating budget of $2.4 billion is part of an overall District budget of $3.2 billion.
- Approved a six-year capital budget of $1.2 billion, with $327 million allocated for capital expenditures in 2010-11. The $64 million replacement of West Philadelphia High School will be largely completed in the coming year. The budget includes spending on additions at Lankenau, Motivation High School, Bluford, Bridesburg, and Kearny.
- Approved contracts to supply furniture, equipment, and supplies at four new facilities: Kensington High School for the Creative and Performing Arts, which broke ground on its new facility last spring and will relocate there in the fall; Guion Bluford Elementary School, recently renovated; Willard Elementary, where a new building is scheduled to open in the fall; and Samuel Fels High School, which moved into a new building last fall.
- Approved a $10 million, four-year, competitively bid contract with IKON Office Solutions for copier equipment.
- Approved a $250,000 contract with Communities in Schools of Philadelphia to support the management and operation of 13 Freedom Schools as part of the District’s collaboration with other city agencies to increase summer opportunities for students.
- Approved an additional $520,075 for a contract amendment with Camelot Schools of Pennsylvania, Inc., which is using Department of Labor funds to subsidize the costs of operating an alternative school for 100 juvenile offenders ages 14-17.
- Voted to expel 18 students and not to expel five others threatened with expulsion.
- Heard from five speakers critical of Corrective Reading and Corrective Math, the District’s remedial curriculum introduced this school year at Empowerment Schools. District officials promised to provide evaluative data on the program after the school year is complete.