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Philadelphia’s rejected charter schools beginning to resubmit applications

Photo: Kimberly Paynter/WHYY

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

The Philadelphia School Reform Commission already rejected 34 out of 39 charter school applications this year.

But any rejected charter can put its application back on the table, according to Pennsylvania charter law.

The school board — in this case, the School Reform Commission — may choose to hold hearings on the revised application and "shall consider the revised and resubmitted application at the first board meeting occurring at least forty-five (45) days after the receipt of the revised application by the board."

One applicant, KIPP West Philadelphia Charter, has already resubmitted.

"We very much want to work with SDP [School District of Philadelphia] as we believe that we can play an important role in our shared goal of serving the students that need a great school the most," said the CEO of KIPP, Marc Mannella, in an email.

KIPP’s revised application will come to a vote at the May 21 SRC meeting, according to Megan Reamer, program officer for the charter school office.

Other applicants, such as Boys’ Latin CEO David Hardy, said resubmitting a revised application was in the cards. He said the SRC did have some points on improving the concept for a Girls’ Latin charter, "so we’re going to re-apply and let them see what we’ve done to improve our proposal."

Hardy was one of a few rejected applicants to express skepticism at the evaluation process.

"I think that they went to extreme measures to nitpick the applications," said Hardy. "Why I really believe that is they have five applications that they approved. Just about every one of those people submitted multiple applications that were exactly the same. One got passed, and the other ones got rejected." In other words, Hardy said he didn’t think there was a significant difference between charters that were approved and some that were denied.

Benjamin Wright, who put in the application for PHASE 4 Charter School, said of the initial vote, "It seems to us that a decision had already been made. And therefore, we put in a lot of effort for nothing." Wright said he will reapply for PHASE 4 in the next round of charter applications in November.

Read the rest of this story at NewsWorks

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