by Diane Payne
Tacony Academy Charter School at St. Vincent
7201 Milner Street 19136
Management Company: American Paradigm Schools
Proposed enrollment: 900 students at scale
Proposed cost to SDP for 5-year term: $39,837,160.
APPS members have attended all hearings and reviewed all applications and attachments on this year’s new charter applications, as we have done in years past. APPS is a member of the Our City Our Schools Coalition (OCOS). Both APPS and OCOS are advocating for a moratorium on the creation of new charters and the expanding of existing ones. The District cannot afford and does not need any more charters. Charter Schools represent the largest single item in the District’s budget–⅓ of the budget goes to fund charters. This causes direct harm to public school students as fewer resources are available to fix toxic buildings and hire more support staff. The Board has read and heard the legal opinions of several local attorneys, including Susan DeJarnett from the Beasley School of Law at Temple University, on the expense of charters, the many problems with the PA Charter Law, and the responsibility of the District to weight the financial health of the District when making decisions on charter expansion. APPS members have cited the opinion of David Lapp, who represented the Education Law Center and is now with Research for Action, in his testimonies; links to the opinions of both attorneys have been made available to the Board.
This report is on one of the three applications submitted this year: Tacony Academy Charter School at St. Vincent. There are several reasons the Board should reject this application, most importantly: negative financial impact on existing public school students, poor academic success over time in existing American Paradigm schools, and pressing financial questions and concerns that affect District stakeholders and all taxpayers.
American Paradigm Schools (APS) operates 4 charters in Philadelphia: First Philadelphia Preparatory Charter (K-12) in Bridesburg, Tacony Academy Charter in the lower Northeast (K-12), Memphis Street Academy at Jones in Kensington (5-8), and Lindley Academy Charter in Logan (K-8).