Our response: An analysis of the cost of charter school expansion

The mission of the Philadelphia School Partnership is to expand the number of great schools in Philadelphia—district-run schools, public charter schools, and private and Catholic schools—thereby increasing access to quality education for low-income families.

This mission aligns with the stated goals of Governor Wolf, Mayor Nutter, Superintendent Hite and the School Reform Commission. Dr. Hite’s Action Plan 2.0 calls for both the transformation of district schools and the expansion of high-quality charter schools. PSP has granted $12 million to assist in the transformation of district schools and approximately $20 million to enable the expansion of quality charter schools since 2011. During this time it has likely been the largest funder of public education in Philadelphia other than the city, state and federal governments.

In making an offer of up to $35 million to help the district manage the “stranded costs” associated with the growth of charter schools and support District transformation efforts, PSP is boldly attempting to leverage philanthropy to address a need articulated by Dr. Hite and members of the School Reform Commission. PSP welcomes a discussion with district leadership about what the true stranded costs are—and we will do as much as we can to provide financial resources and other assistance to help mitigate those. We do not see evidence of the hypothetical stranded cost claimed by the Boston Consulting Group in the District’s audited financial statements, but that doesn’t change our commitment to doing everything we possibly can to enable the district to transform and expand more quality schools of all types.

Please click here to read our analysis of charter enrollment costs.