PSP Executive Director Mark Gleason issued the following statement on the pending SRC decisions on 40 applications for new charter schools:
“We have been listening to the concerns of education stakeholders, parents and public officials about the potential financial impact of charter expansion on District schools and students. We agree that financial impact is an important consideration, and it has become clear that cost concerns are hindering the SRC from making decisions about the charter applications in the best interest of kids and families who are eager for a new opportunity to attend a great school.
“The best way to ensure that the SRC can make decisions based solely on the merits of these applications – and give more students access to a high-quality education – is to help the District manage the stranded costs associated with charter expansion. For this reason, PSP is extending a commitment to provide $35 million in funding to the School District to offset stranded costs associated with charter expansion, and to fund the transformation of district schools. Up to $25 million would cover the estimated costs over the next three years of adding up to 15,000 new seats in quality charter schools, and approximately $10 million would be available to invest in the transformation of district schools. At the same time, PSP remains fully committed to working this legislative term to support the restoration of some form of charter reimbursement and the implementation of a fair funding formula for all of our public schools as a member of the Campaign for Fair Education Funding.
“Many of the charter applicants have a proven record of success in serving low-income and minority students in Philadelphia. To be clear, we are not taking a position on which schools should be approved by the SRC. We trust in the decision-making ability of the SRC and the system it has implemented under the Authorizing Quality Initiative to select the schools that will give students in Philadelphia the best chance for a great education. We are simply hoping to assist in enabling the SRC to make decisions for each school purely on the merits. Our children and families deserve nothing less.”