Philly charter schools will weather budget storm

Man hangs KIPP school banner
KIPP schools are the largest network of charters in the country. Credit: Getty

Despite the chaos plaguing the Philadelphia public school system, public charters are going strong. They have another year before district budget cuts hit — time that allows them to save and plan ahead, administrators say. And data shows that parents and teachers are leaning on them more than ever.

A crowd of about 150 parents showed up for the lottery at Russell Byers Charter School this fall, according to Laurada Byers. Byers founded the school in 2001, and it’s grown to more than 480 students from kindergarten through sixth grade. This year, the school received over 1,600 applications for 15 slots. One of the lottery winners was present this year, tears streaming down her face, Byers says. Parents are desperate to get their children into a good school, she adds.

It’s a demand that the Philadelphia School Partnership is trying to help meet, says Kristen Forbriger, PSP’s communication manager. PSP’s grants fund the creation and expansion of high-quality schools, she says, whether they are private, public or public charter.

“There are thousands more students in high-quality schools this year,” Forbriger says. “A big bulk of those [are] in charter schools.”

KIPP Philadelphia Schools, also charters, saw an uptick in applications as well. They received twice as many after the deadline from parents who were willing to brave the wait list, says Marc Mannella, CEO and founder.

Even when the budget cuts hit next year, Mannella says he does not anticipate layoffs: “I think we’re going to be able to ride this storm through smart savings this year or a slower expansion of what we’re already doing.” This is KIPP’s tenth year in Philadelphia, and their first graduating class of high school seniors.

Students are not the only ones applying to charters. KIPP received more than 5,000 applications from teachers last year before the public school layoffs, up from 3,856 the previous year. While he can’t know for sure, it’s possible some may have seen the writing on the wall, Mannella said.

For smaller schools like Russell Byers, next year’s budget cuts could mean layoffs. But its administrators will be able to make decisions that are best for their school, as opposed to mandated cuts from the district, Byers said.

For now, charter school teachers and staff are forging ahead.

“Kids are still coming to school,” Forbriger said. “Educators are focused on providing the best possible education to those students.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Tattooed, bearded suspect sought in Williamsburg bike theft:…

The suspected thief faces grand larceny charges after investigators said he entered the building on North 5th Street in Williamsburg.

Local

Report: Rich New Yorkers don't move from NYC…

An Independent Budget Office analysis found that the wealthiest residents don't move out of the city any more or less than other New Yorkers.

National

Pioneers for domestic violence push on

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article. Two decades have passed since the O.J. Simpson trial captivated the country. But in the 20 years…

Local

Food truck with a mission hires at-risk New…

A group branding itself as food trucks for social justice specifically hires and trains young men and women with troubled pasts.

Movies

Review: 'A Most Wanted Man' works better when…

In one of his last roles, Philip Seymour Hoffman headlines the John Le Carre adaptation of "A Most Wanted Man," about the pursuit of a Chechen refugee.

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, July 22: 'Royal Pains,'…

Catch a new episode of "Royal Pains" where Hank has to help out a housesitter.

Entertainment

'Bachelorette' recap: Episode 10, 'Men Tell All'

Why does the #MenTellAll episode exist? Because they don’t, and it shouldn’t. Is it a lazy vehicle to sell more ad space? Is it to…

Television

Olivia Williams explains the ins and outs of…

Olivia Williams plays a botanist beginning to suspect her physicist husband's work on the Manhattan Project might be ominous in WGN America's "Manhattan."

NFL

5 players to watch at Giants training camp

Metro takes a look at five players who will be on everyone’s mind when Giants training camp gets underway.

NFL

'Vicktory dogs' travel road to rehabilitation seven years…

Of the dozens of dogs groomed by Bad Newz Kennels, 48 were rescued and 22 of the pit bull terriers have emerged at Best Friends Animal Society.

MLB

Yankees looking at trade for Cliff Lee, according…

Yankees looking at trade for Cliff Lee, according to report

NFL

Giants lineman Chris Snee to retire: Reports

The Giants report to training camp on Tuesday, but Chris Snee may not be there when they do.

Parenting

Buy gently worn back-to-school clothes with Kidizen

Kidizen allows parents to buy and sell gently worn back-to-school clothes.

Wellbeing

Ruling could be beginning of the end for…

This morning, a federal appeals court threw out an IRS regulation that implements subsidies for low-income Americans who bought insurance through Obamacare. These Affordable Care…

Tech

RocketSkates let users roll with a motor

Los Angeles company Acton has raised funds on Kickstarter to roll out a nifty alternative – motor-powered "RocketSkates."

Tech

Knicks star Carmelo Anthony becomes a tech entrepreneur

He's been an All-Star, an Olympian, and a celebrity spokesperson. Now NBA player Carmelo Anthony is adding the position "tech entrepreneur" to his resume. Along…