The Philadelphia School District shut the door Wednesday on a radical turnaround for West Philadelphia High this year.
The parent and community group charged with choosing an outside provider to run West had demanded that the district and the School Reform Commission put a 2010 overhaul back on track.
Commission Chairman Robert L. Archie Jr. and Superintendent Arlene Ackerman gave an emphatic "no."
"It's just too late to make any serious and major changes," Ackerman said.
West was initially chosen as one of the district's 14 planned "Renaissance" schools, to be restructured as either charters or schools run by outside providers or the superintendent herself. But the Renaissance process was derailed last week over an alleged conflict of interest on the part of some members of its School Advisory Council.
In a news conference earlier in the day, members of the advisory council accused school officials of being inconsistent and said decisions about the school were being unduly influenced by outsiders.
"We feel offended and dragged through the mud," said Jennifer Funderberg, a member of the advisory council. "The unnecessary delay of this process has harmed our school community. Our turnaround cannot wait any longer."
The advisory council had selected a Baltimore nonprofit, Johns Hopkins/Diplomas Now, to run the school in the fall.
In May, the commission declined to vote on a resolution awarding Hopkins a contract, and Ackerman later said she was halting the Renaissance effort at West for a full year.
Ackerman cited the alleged conflict, which centers on four parents who received small stipends to work for a nonprofit that has ties to Hopkins.
The Philadelphia Education Fund, which has a long history of working with Hopkins, had paid the parents to get others involved in the school. One parent still works part time for the Education Fund.
A legal analysis performed by the Education Law Center concluded there was no conflict of interest, but the district is investigating.
The advisory council had been formed by Ackerman herself. She has said that she was not upset with the parents on the council, but that she believed the body must be reconstituted.
Advisory council members said that the district was stalling for time and that the community had clearly spoken for Hopkins.
"The School Advisory Council followed the district's process," Funderberg said. "The district should stand by their own process."
Joy Herbert, the council cochair, was one of the parents who had been paid the stipend. Herbert said that the district knew of her involvement and that she was insulted by the notion that she had done something wrong.
"There were no shady deals or underhanded anything," said Herbert.
At the commission meeting, one member of the advisory council said she supported the decision by school officials.
"Mr. Chairman, we have to get it right," said Paula McKinney-Rainey, president of the Alumni Association. "In the intervening year, West needs to receive all the new and innovative academic resources that would have been available to the students had a turnaround team been selected."
Ackerman said the school would get plenty of extra support.