Divided Philadelphia school board gives new life to struggling charter school

Mike DeNardo
December 14, 2018 - 4:00 am

Mike DeNardo/KYW Newsradio


PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- A divided Philadelphia school board has voted to allow a troubled charter school to remain open.

By a 5-3 vote, the board approved an agreement allowing the Richard Allen Preparatory Charter School to stay open, with conditions. 

The School Reform Commission, a year ago, voted not to renew the charter for the 5th-through-8th grade school at 58th and Lindbergh, citing its poor academic performance. 

Less than 6 percent of Allen students were proficient in math on state tests last year. 

The agreement says if improvement targets aren't met, the school will voluntarily close by June 2021. Before the vote, activist Lisa Haver said it would indicate how the new local board views charters.

"A 'yes' vote, by this board, on this I think is going to be a litmus test so the people can see whether or not this board is going to continue the SRC's practice of spending tax dollars on failing charters," she said.

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Board member Julia Danzy didn't see Allen improving enough.

"I don't see how it can be achieved,” she says, “And as a result of that, I'm voting no."

But board member Maria McColgan supported the agreement.

"Because I'd rather see money spent on trying to achieve those goals rather than on legal fees, and the school's going to remain open in this time frame anyway I'm voting yes," she said.

The charter has been open since 2001.