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Hearings for new charter applicants set for next week

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

Hearings for 12 would-be school operators looking to open new charter schools will begin next week.

The School District will review applications for 13 new schools, which, if approved, could increase the city’s public charter school enrollment by more than 9,000 students. One applicant, KIPP, is proposing to open two schools.

Last week, one of the applicants withdrew its proposal to create a James Baldwin Charter High School in Mantua focused on serving LGBT students, according to the District.

Two sets of hearings are planned. Preliminary hearings will take place on Dec. 7 and Dec. 11 (see schedule below), and a more-detailed round of hearings is slated for January.

In 2014, a provision in the state’s school-funding-enabling cigarette-tax hike required the District to end a seven-year moratorium on new charter schools that had been implemented to help stabilize District finances. When the charter ban was lifted, the floodgates opened and a startling 40 applications were filed.

Far fewer applicants are seeking to open new charters this year. The District said 14 applications were filed this year.

During the introductory hearings, each applicant will have 10 minutes to present information to the public.

Public comments will be heard after each day’s presentations. Those who intend to speak must sign up beforehand. They can either pre-register by calling 215-400-4010 or sign up in person between 1:30 and 5:30 p.m. the day of the hearing. The deadline to register is 5:30 p.m. on the hearing date. Each speaker will have three minutes to comment.

All hearings will be streamed live by the District and transcribed by a court stenographer.

Dec. 7

1:30 Welcome & logistics
1:45 ASPIRA Ramon E. Betances
2:00 Chestnut Hill Innovation
2:15 City Academy
2:30 Esperanza Elementary
2:45 FACTS-2
3:00 Russell Byers Academy
3:15 Pavilion School
3:30 Break
3:45 Public comment

Dec. 11

1:30 Welcome & logistics
1:45 Belmont Charter High School
2:00 Global Leadership Academy International High
2:15 KIPP North Philadelphia
2:30 KIPP Parkside
2:45 Montessori School
3:00 Southwest Leadership Academy for Girls
3:15 Break
3:30 Public comment

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