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Budget Crisis Stops Expansion Of Charter Schools In Philadelphia

(File photo by Mike DeNardo)

(File photo by Mike DeNardo)

Mike DeNardo Mike DeNardo
Mike DeNardo, a veteran of KYW Newsradio for more than 25 years,...
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By Mike DeNardo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - The Philadelphia School District says it won’t recommend the expansion of any charter schools next year since it is facing a $300 million budget hole.

Twenty-one Philadelphia charters want the okay to add 15,000 seats. But the district says that represents$500 million in money it doesn’t have, so it can’t recommend any more charter seats next year.

Dr. Naomi Johnson Booker, who heads the Global Leadership Academy Charter School and Philadelphia Charter Schools For Excellence, says given the district’s financial crisis, the move is not a surprise.

“I’m also very unhappy with the decision because many of my colleagues as well as ourselves were looking to expand our operations to create some high-quality seats for children in Philadelphia,” she explains.

Right now 55,000 students attend 84 Philadelphia charter schools. Booker says she expected charters would join the district in pushing Harrisburg for more school funding.