The Philadelphia School Reform Commission is in the process of listening to testimony that will ultimately be used this evening to decide the fate of 39 applicants hoping to start charter schools in the city.
WHYY’s Kevin McCorry took a break from the action to join NewsWorks Tonight live and give host Dave Heller an update.
When McCorry visited Newsworks Tonight, the SRC was about halfway through hearing 78 speakers, each giving three minutes of testimony to argue for or against a new charter school. The divide, McCorry said, is between the potential of a successful new school and costs that would be added onto a district that’s already hurting financially.
Will all that testimony make a difference? McCorry spoke to SRC Chairman Bill Green who indicated that the meeting is more of a formality and an opportunity for civic dialogu. According to Green, SRC members essentially have made up their minds.
“They went through hours and hours of official public hearings and testimony gathering over the course of December and January. All of that went into big files in all of the schools. They hashed it out, probably, already in some backdoor meeting,” McCorry said. “But you never know. Something really compelling could happen, for or against a certain school that could change someone’s mind.”
Once the SRC announces its decision, rejected charters have the opportunity to appeal to a state board.