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District posts charter school applications on its website

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

Earlier this week, the School District released a list of 40 applications that it received from organizations wanting to open new charter schools next fall.

Now the District has posted the 40 full applications on its website.

This is the first time in seven years that the District has accepted applications for new charters, and it’s the first time ever that the applications have been posted online before they are voted on by the School Reform Commission.

Most of the applications are 60-100 pages long.

Applications are being reviewed by teams that include District staff and outside professionals recruited from area colleges and universities.

The SRC must hold hearings on each of the 40 applications within 45 days — by the end of the calendar year. Then the SRC must vote on applications within 75 days of the hearing.

In all, the new applications would represent more than 40,000 new seats. Of the 40 applications, 29 are from existing operators of charters.

At Thursday’s SRC meeting, the commission approved a resolution authorizing a single commissioner, a committee of two commissioners, or a hearing officer delegated by the SRC to preside over any of the hearings on the 40 applications. District staff said the resolution, which involves waiving the School Code, was necessary because the review of the 40 charter applications could involve two hearings per applicant. The first round of hearings must take place by the end of the year.

This story has been corrected. An earlier version said two rounds of hearings must take place by the end of the year.

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