During the life cycle of a charter school, the school’s board may need to amend the school charter to reflect changes in operations, the educational program, location, or enrollment since the school’s founding.
Charter amendments may reflect nonmaterial (minor) or material (significant) changes. Ideally, material charter amendments are planned in advance and submitted with the charter school’s renewal application. There are occasions, however, when the school may have reason to request a material amendment during the charter term.
Overview of Process
The Pennsylvania Charter School Law does not provide for amendments to charters, and thus the Charter Schools Office (CSO) of the District is not required to review amendment requests from charter schools. The CSO may review amendment requests at its discretion. When the CSO reviews a request to amend the existing charter for a Philadelphia charter school, the CSO first reviews the request as submitted. After the initial review of a charter amendment request by the CSO, the CSO may request additional supporting documentation from the charter school to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the charter amendment request. The additional documentation requested will be specific to the nature of the charter amendment request.
Once the CSO has received requested supporting documentation from the charter school, the CSO will conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the charter amendment request. During this evaluation period, the CSO may ask clarifying questions of the charter school. The CSO will determine if the charter amendment request represents a material charter amendment. Material amendments to a school’s charter include the following: a change to grade levels served; a change in building location or the addition of a new facility; a name change; a significant change to a charter school’s mission, program, or educational plan; an enrollment expansion; or a change to the charter management organization. If the charter amendment request submitted is deemed a material charter amendment, the CSO will prepare a Charter Amendment Evaluation Report and make a subsequent recommendation to the Board. The Charter Amendment Evaluation Report will be provided to the charter school and posted on the CSO website in advance of any Board action related to the charter amendment request. The Charter Amendment Evaluation Report summarizes the assessment by the CSO of the charter school’s charter amendment request
Charter Amendment Evaluation Reports are available to the public for each charter amendment request processed per the procedure above on each charter school’s CSO web page. In addition, evaluation reports for material charter amendment requests received in the most recent year are below.
Charter Amendment Requests
The CSO received the following requests to materially amend charters authorized by The School District of Philadelphia in the most recent year. The Board can, by resolution at a public action meeting, approve or deny the charter amendment request made by a charter school.
School Year 2019-20 Amendment Requests (renewal)
- Community Academy of Philadelphia Charter School
Request: Enrollment Increase
- Independence Charter School
Request: Change to Educational Plan
- Mastery Charter School at Smedley
Request: Enrollment Increase
- Laboratory Charter School of Communication and Languages
Request: Change in Building Location