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5 new charter schools apply to open in Philly

Five new charter schools have applied to open in Philadelphia.

If approved, the schools would add more than 3,000 students to charter-school rolls in the city.

There are currently 86 charters in the city.

The proposed schools are: Friendship Whittier Charter School, which would serve 695 PreK-5 students in the Allegheny West section of the city; KIPP Parkside Charter School, which would educate 770 K-8 students in West Parkside; Metropolitan Philadelphia Classical Charter School, which proposes a 674 K-12 student body in Cedarbrook; Deep Roots Charter School, which wants 540 K-8 students in Harrowgate; and Wilbur Wright Aerospace and Aviation Academy, which would serve 600 high school students in the city's Strawberry Mansion section.

All of the operators save one would be new to the Philadelphia charter scene. KIPP currently operates five schools in Philadelphia. It previously applied to operate a school in Parkside, but was turned down by the SRC earlier this year.

By law, the School Reform Commission must open applications for new charters each year, but their consideration is a hot-button issue.

Opponents point out that opening or expanding charters comes at the expense of traditional public schools; proponents point to a perennially struggling system and say that charters push innovation and that parents deserve choice.

In Harrisburg, Senate Republicans crucial to any state-budget deal have made it clear that they want charter expansion and creation in Philadelphia.

Between 2007 and 2015, the district approved no new freestanding charters. In 2015, it authorized six. Earlier this year, it green-lighted three more.

The SRC will vote on the new charter applications next year.