This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
Five organizations have submitted applications seeking to open new charter schools in Philadelphia, the School Reform Commission announced Thursday.
The applications range from a proposed new KIPP elementary school in Parkside to a high school focused on aerospace and aviation in Strawberry Mansion. If approved, they would add 1,000 students to the rolls next year and more than 3,000 new students in six years. Three of the new schools are proposing to open in September, while two plan 2018-19 openings. The five applications were submitted by the Nov. 15 deadline. For many years, the SRC had stopped taking applications for new charters, citing financial difficulties. But when the General Assembly passed legislation in 2014 authorizing a $2-per-pack cigarette tax for the schools, it required the SRC to end its moratorium on new charters. In February 2015, five new schools were approved out of 39 applications. Last year, three new schools were approved, all proposed by existing charter operators. Of the five that have just applied, it appears that only the KIPP proposal comes from an established charter provider. The proposed schools are:
- Friendship Whittier Charter School, run by Friendship Philadelphia, proposed for the Allegheny West neighborhood. It would start with 350 K-2 students in 2017-18 and expand to a pre-K-to-5th-grade school with 695 students.
- KIPP Parkside Charter School, run by KIPP Philadelphia, in West Parkside. It is proposed as a 770-student K-8 school and would start in 2018-19 with 200 students in K-1.
- Metropolitan Philadelphia Classical Charter School, run by an organization with that name, in Cedarbrook. It proposes to open in 2017-18 with 498 students in K-10 and expand to 674 students in K-12.
- Deep Roots Charter School, run by an organization with that name, in Harrowgate, opening in 2018-19 with 300 K-4 students and expanding to 540 students in K-8.
- Wilbur Wright Aerospace & Aviation Academy, run by Greater Urban Alliance Charter Schools Inc., in Strawberry Mansion, opening in 2017-18 with a 9th-grade class of 150 students and expanding to 600 in grades 9-12.
The Charter Schools Office will review the applications. Under state law, public hearings must be held within 45 days, and the SRC will vote no later than 75 days after the first hearing. The SRC will likely vote in February. The applications will be posted on the website of the Charter Schools Office.