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November 17, 2016

Five applicants seek charter schools in School District of Philadelphia

Education Charter Schools
Carroll - School District of Philadelphia Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

The School District of Philadelphia on North Broad Street.

The School District of Philadelphia received five new charter school applications by Tuesday's deadline, the fewest it has received since ending a moratorium on new applications two years ago.

Applications were submitted by Friendship Philadelphia, KIPP Philadelphia, Metropolitan Philadelphia Classical Charter Schoool, Deep Roots Charter School and Greater Urban Alliance Charter Schools, the School Reform Commission's Charter Schools Office announced Thursday.

This marks the third school year since the SRC ended a moratorium on new charter applications as part of the 2014 Pennsylvania cigarette tax legislation which benefited Philadelphia public schools. The SRC approved three of 12 applicants last school year and five of 39 applicants during the 2014-15 school year.

The five applicants seek to open schools in neighborhoods in North Philadelphia, Northwest Philadelphia, West Philadelphia and Northeast Philadelphia. Three seek to open in time for the next school year. The others target opening during the 2018-19 school year. 

Here are the applicants:

• Friendship Philadelphia proposes opening Friendship Whittier Charter School in the city's Allegheny West neighborhood during the 2017-18 school year. At peak enrollment, the charter would serve 695 students in pre-K through grade five. It would open by serving 350 students in kindergarten through second grade.

Metropolitan Philadelphia Classical Charter School proposes opening a school in Cedarbrook during the 2017-18 school year. At peak enrollment, the school would serve 674 students in kindergarten through grade 12. It would open by serving 498 students in kindergarten through 10th grade.

• Greater Urban Alliance Charter Schools wants to open theWilbur Wright Aerospace and Aviation Academy in Strawberry Mansion during the 2017-18 school year. It would open with 150 ninth grade students, and eventually serve 600 students in grades 9 through 12. 

• KIPP Philadelphia seeks to open KIPP Parkside Charter School in West Parkside during the 2018-19 school year. It would open by serving 200 students in kindergarten and first grade, and eventually expand to 770 students in kindergarten through grade 8. KIPP currently enrolls some 1,625 students in four schools in Philadelphia.

• Deep Roots Charter School seeks to open a school in Harrowgate during the 2018-19 school year. It would open with an enrollment of 300 students in kindergarten through fourth grade, and serve 540 students in kindergarten through eighth grade at peak enrollment. 

Each applicant must undergo a rigorous review that includes public hearings and a public comment period.

Public hearings for each applicant must be held within 45 days of receiving the application, per Pennsylvania's charter school law. The SRC must vote on the applications no later than 75 days after the first public hearing, unless other arrangements are made.

The SRC likely will vote on the applicants at a public meeting sometime in mid-February.