Honorable James Kenney, Mayor
City of Philadelphia
Philadelphia PA 19107
Honorable Thomas Wolf, Governor
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
225 Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg, PA 17120
June 8, 2016
Dear Mayor Kenney and Governor Wolf:
On behalf of the members of the Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools, we request that you conduct an investigation into the actions of the School Reform Commission during its current renewal procedure of the charters for Aspira Stetson School and Aspira Olney School. We have attended all of the SRC meetings in April and May when these resolutions were considered, and we have serious concerns that the public has been denied the right to a fair and impartial process in these matters.
Aspira Inc. was granted a charter to manage John B. Stetson Middle in April 2010 and one to manage Olney High School in April 2011, after the district deemed each “low-performing” and placed them in its Renaissance program. The purpose of that program, according to the district’s website, is to “dramatically improve the learning environment in underperforming school district schools and to create highly effective schools that provide exceptional opportunities for student achievement and preparedness for success in college and the workforce.” The SRC’s Charter Schools Office (CSO) has cited several reasons—academic, financial, and managerial—which confirm that Aspira has failed to provide its students with a high-quality education and has failed to meet basic standards for proper school management. In addition, Aspira representatives admitted to financial irregularities enumerated in the CSO report.
Reasons cited by the CSO for non-renewal of Stetson include: