District wants Philadelphia charter school shut down

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April 22, 2014 3:44:20 PM PDT
The School District of Philadelphia is recommending to the School Reform Commission the suspension and charter revocation of a school due to "significant academic underperformance and financial issues."

The recommendation, which takes aim at the Walter D. Palmer Leadership Learning Partners Charter School, is based on findings over the course of six years, accusing the school of continual violations of its charter and charter school law and policy.

In addition, the district alleges it was fraudulently billed $770,000 in the 2012-2013 academic year for students not enrolled at the school.

In a statement released Tuesday, Philadelphia School District Superintendent Dr. William R. Hite said, "This difficult decision was made with substantial evidence that this school is not serving the needs of students and their families ... We require better student outcomes from a public institution that was granted a charter to educate children. We must use all of our resources towards supporting students in academic success."

The Walter D. Palmer Leadership Learning Partners Charter School operates at two locations: pre-kindergarten and grades K-4 at 910 North 6th Street in Kensington, and grades 5-12 at 5502 Harbison Avenue in Tacony.

The school district says that the SRC renewed the school's charter in 2010 with an approved enrollment limit of 675 students. However, the charter currently enrolls 1,289 students, and this year it is projected to receive approximately $12.6 million in per pupil payments from the district and the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

The recommendations will be considered by the SRC during its regularly scheduled meeting on Thursday. If the suspension and charter revocation are approved, pupil payments to the school will be suspended as of July 1, 2014. The SRC will then hold a hearing to make its final revocation vote.

The school district says it is developing a plan for Palmer students in the case of revocation.


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