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Hite Action Plan 3.0 focuses on equity, reallocating dollars

The plan would also make Renaissance turnaround schools the priority in any charter growth.

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

Superintendent William Hite released his Action Plan 3.0 on Wednesday morning, calling for administrative reorganization of schools and a focus on "equity" that could see a higher share of available funds concentrated in needy neighborhood schools.

The plan comes a day after Gov. Wolf announced his budget proposal, which includes historic investments in education and millions of additional state dollars for Philadelphia. Hite called his blueprint "a new approach to lifting the achievement of every student, wherever they live and whatever their background."

Hite highlighted the amount of funding he needs — $300 million in new money next year and nearly $1 billion in recurring revenue by 2019 — to fully implement his strategies. But he also said that "times of diminishing resources require an even greater commitment to equity." The intention, the report says, is to "redistribute resources (dollars and energy) towards areas of greatest need." The District plans to pilot a weighted-student funding formula to accomplish this.

Other highlights:

He proposes creating three new school networks to focus on innovation, turnaround of the lowest-performing schools, and improving the alternative pipeline for students who are over-age and under-credited, which he is calling the Opportunity Network.

Eventually, he wants to give the most successful schools "charter-like" autonomy — partly through the student-based funding formula. These schools would get per-pupil allocations and have greater leeway.

At the same time, he wants to concentrate growth in charter schools on the Renaissance model, which calls for turning over low-performing District schools to charter operators.

“While redoubling District efforts, we will seek to selectively expand the charter sector in the areas where the city needs it. … We will advocate focusing any charter growth on our Renaissance Charter turnaround schools, which maintain our legacy of neighborhood schools that are open to all.”

He also calls for major changes in state charter funding and promises more oversight and better District authorizing of existing charter schools.

“The current charter school funding formula, which requires passing on funding to charter schools for services that they are not responsible for providing, must be modified,” the report says. The current one-size-fits-all payment to charters for students with disabilities, regardless of how severe, “overpays charter schools for the population served,” he says.

This is a developing story, check back for updates.

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