We appreciate the cooperative approach of the Ethics Board in identifying our mistakes and allowing us the opportunity to correct them.
PSP finalized an agreement today with the Philadelphia Board of Ethics that includes the organization retroactively registering as a principal for 2012 under the City’s lobbying law and filing additional quarterly disclosure forms for periods in 2012 and 2013. The lobbying law became effective at the beginning of 2012, and PSP believed it was compliant when it registered in July 2013; we later came to understand that the City’s definition of lobbying is broader than those at the state or federal levels. In consultation with the Ethics Board, we came to better understand the requirements of the new law and worked with the Board to bring our filings into full compliance. Since its founding in 2010, PSP has endeavored to be open and transparent about its work, because we believe that successful school reform can only be achieved if all stakeholders are working collaboratively toward common goals.
PSP’s mission is to expand the number of great schools in Philadelphia so that every student can attend one. Our primary work involves investing startup funds to help schools launch, expand or transform. We also advocate for policies and conditions that are required to enable great schools to grow and thrive. Many of the activities that are described in the revised lobbying disclosures associated with today’s settlement, and most if not all of the positions taken by PSP on school-reform issues, were publicly known at the time they occurred, through media reports, PSP press releases or other means.
One example of a publicly known activity was an information-gathering trip in January 2012 to Denver, Colo., where the school district was a leader in decentralizing the administration of schools and fostering collaboration between district and charter schools. PSP paid transportation and lodging expenses (totaling about $5,800) for several City and School Reform Commission officials who participated in the trip. The trip took place two days after the lobbying law became effective, and PSP was unaware at the time that the law’s disclosure requirements applied to such a trip.
We appreciate the cooperative approach of the Ethics Board in identifying our mistakes and allowing us the opportunity to correct them. Going forward, PSP will make every effort to comply with the City’s lobbying law as we continue our mission to ensure that every student in Philadelphia has the opportunity to attend a great school.