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Watching City School Funding Crisis, Philadelphia Charters Gear Up

(Children eat breakfast and use coloring books on the first day of school for kindergarteners at Kipp Elementary, on W. Westmoreland Street.  Credit: Mike DeNardo)

(Children eat breakfast and use coloring books on the first day of school for kindergarteners at Kipp Elementary, on W. Westmoreland Street. Credit: 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) — As the Philadelphia school funding crisis plays out (see related stories), some city schoolkids are already back in class.

“Hello!  Welcome to kindergarten!” shouted a teacher at the Kipp Elementary charter school in North Philadelphia this morning, greeting parents and students on the first day of class, more than three weeks before district schools begin.

Some city charter schools actually returned to class last week.

Rhodesia Halley was walking into Kipp with her five-year-old daughter, Raven Smaller.

“I thought she was going to hate it because all of her other friends don’t start school yet, but I love it and she woke up excited,” Halley tells KYW Newsradio.

This was Day One of 195 instructional days at Kipp.  Kipp principal Ben Speicher says charters are watching the district funding crisis closely.

“We’re sort of all in this all together,” Speicher (in photo below) says.   “If the district is not funded at the level they need, it definitely impacts all of us in Philadelphia, whether we’re in the district or in a charter school.”

That’s because the money charter schools get is based on how much the district spent on students the previous year.

(Principal Ben Speicher exchanges a high-five with a kindergartener on the first day of school.  Credit: Mike DeNardo)

(Principal Ben Speicher exchanges a high-five with a kindergartener on the first day of school. Credit: Mike DeNardo)

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