Philly schools chief: Charter expansion ‘irresponsible’

Philadelphia School District Superintendent William Hite Jr. says now is not the time to expand charter schools. Credit: Rikard Larma/Metro
Philadelphia School District Superintendent William Hite Jr. says now is not the time to expand charter schools.
Credit: Rikard Larma/Metro

The Philadelphia School District on Thursday recommended to the School Reform Commission that no charter school expansions be permitted during the 2013-14 school year given the district’s financial constraints.

The district claims it is facing a $304 million budget shortfall, and has called on increased aid from the city and state to help it make ends meet.

“Given our dire financial prospects, we must ask for shared sacrifices from our partners,” said Superintendent William Hite Jr. in a statement issued Thursday night.  “It would be irresponsible for the district to endorse charter expansion while asking our principals to do the impossible with school budgets.”

Twenty-one city charter schools are seeking to expand by a total of more than 15,000 seats, which could amount to more than $500 million in additional expenses for the school district over five years.

District officials met with charter school leaders on Thursday to discuss their decision to halt expansion plans. They pledged to grow high-performing district and charter schools once the budget situation improves.


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