Thanks to the Keystone State Education Coalition for sending daily updates, invluding these.

Governor Wolf complained that Philadelphia public schools could not afford the loss of revenue to charters. The public schools have an $80 million deficit, and more charters will increase rhe deficit. Charters complained because they wanted more approvals.

SRC feels heat for adding five charters

KRISTEN A. GRAHAM, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER LAST UPDATED: Thursday, February 19, 2015, 7:59 PM POSTED: Thursday, February 19, 2015, 5:31 PM

The School Reform Commission continued to take heat Thursday for its decision to approve five new charter schools, with critics from both sides railing against the action. Mark Gleason, executive director of Philadelphia School Partnership, said he was “deeply disappointed” that the SRC approved only 2,684 seats Wednesday, rejecting proposals by qualified schools.

PSP, a well-funded, controversial nonprofit dedicated to expanding strong schools, had offered $25 million to help defray new-charter costs, but for now, that money is off the table, Gleason said. Advocates of wide charter expansion cited pent-up demand for strong charters, with thousands on waiting lists for the schools, which are paid for with public dollars and run by independent boards but authorized by the Philadelphia School District. Others, including Gov. Wolf and the teachers union, say that any new charter seat strips children of needed resources in the already financially desperate district.

SRC blasted from both sides on charter vote


ELECTED OFFICIALS and education reformers yesterday voiced frustration with the School Reform Commission’s decision to approve five of 39 charter applications.

The commission voted during a raucous meeting Wednesday to grant charters to Independence, MaST Community, KIPP, Mastery and Freire. The approved applicants are the first stand-alone charters granted in the city since 2007 and will provide an additional 2,684 seats by 2019.

Despite the measured approach, those on both sides of the issue were unhappy with the outcome.

Gov. Wolf decries Philadelphia’s charter school expansion

York Dispatch by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS POSTED: 02/19/2015 01:23:42 PM EST

PHILADELPHIA – Philadelphia’s School Reform Commission has approved just five of 39 new charter school applications, but Gov. Tom Wolf and a teachers’ union say any new charters will be a financial strain on the city’s public school system. Wolf issued a statement after Thursday’s vote saying the district, which projects an $80 million budget deficit next school year, can’t responsibly handle the approval of new charter schools.

The commission granted conditional three-year charters to: Independence Charter School West, KIPP Dubois, MaST Community, Mastery and Tech Freire.

Mike Turzai “Very Disappointed” Philadelphia SRC Only Approved 5 New Charters

Pa. Speaker of the House says there could be financial consequences for the Philadelphia School District.

Philly Mag Citified BY HOLLY OTTERBEIN | FEBRUARY 19, 2015 AT 11:39 AM

Pennsylvania Speaker of the House Rep. Mike Turzai says he is “very disappointed” that the Philadelphia School Reform Commission voted Wednesday night to approve only five of 39 new charter school proposals. The Allegheny County Republican made clear by Thursday morning that the SRC’s vote could have consequences: He says it “makes it tougher” to have a discussion about reinstating the charter reimbursement line item in the state budget. The phrase “charter reimbursement line item” might sound wonky, but it represents a potentially huge amount of money for the Philadelphia School District. Former Gov. Tom Corbett eliminated the line item in 2011, cutting more than $100 million annually from the city’s schools.

Public school advocates and education reformers alike have urged GOP leaders in Harrisburg to put the line item back into the budget. Many see it as the most feasible way to persuade Republican and rural lawmakers to provide more money to Philadelphia’s schools.

Turzai originally told us the SRC’s vote “negates” the conversation on reinstating the line item.

“If they’re not going to provide the charter schools for the parents and grandparents that want them,” Turzai said, “I think that negates the discussion.” Jay Ostrich, a spokesman for Turzai, later walked back his statement, saying the speaker “misspoke” and meant that the SRC’s vote makes the conversation more difficult.