The Philadelphia School Reform Commission today approved seven new charter schools - with some strings attached.
The schools won't open until 2009, and officials said their approval is tied to the cash-strapped district's ability to come up with funding for them next year.
Those approved for a three-year charter are: Arise Academy Charter High School, Eastern University Charter School, Franklin Towne Charter School, KIPP West Philadelphia Preparatory Charter School, Philadelphia Polytechnic Charter School, Sankofi Freedom Academy Charter School, and Tacony Academy Charter School.
The commission also denied eight schools. They are: Camelot Charter, Cristina Elena Guzman Charter, Pathways in Education Charter, Philadelphia Charter for Business and Finance, Philadelphia Community Charter, RICH Charter, Leon H. Sullivan Opportunities Charter, and Woodward Haynes Academy of Sciences Charter.
Last week, the Office of Charter Schools asked the commission to deny all 15 applications on the table. A budget crisis, new chief executive, and explosive growth in charters all mean that this is the wrong time to approve new charters, said Cathy Balsley, executive director.
Sandra Dungee Glenn, commission chair, said the approvals represent a good balance between the financial realities of the district and advancing reform for the city's schoolchildren.
Several commission members said they wished they could allow charters.
Lamont Brown, who will head the KIPP West Philadelphia school, urged the commission not to put his students off for another year.