The Charter Schools Office (CSO), on behalf of the Board of Education (Board), conducts a comprehensive review of each charter school seeking renewal, and then presents a formal evaluation and renewal recommendation to the Board. Renewal recommendations are detailed in a publicly available report for each charter school.

The comprehensive review and recommendation are based on the Charter School Performance Framework and consider evidence of outcomes-based performance during the current charter term. The CSO’s Charter School Performance Framework incorporates three domains:

  • Academic success
  • Organizational compliance and viability
  • Financial health and sustainability

This same Framework guides the CSO’s ongoing monitoring, evaluation, and assessment work. Each Philadelphia brick-and-mortar charter school not in the renewal cohort receives an annual evaluation of its performance against this Framework in the Annual Charter Evaluation.

The Charter School Law primarily allows for renewal of a charter for a period of five years. In limited circumstances, charter schools in Philadelphia may be renewed for one year to allow for evaluation of additional academic performance information.

Business rules for academic calculations align with the District Performance Office’s business rules (viewed here).

Application and Timeline

Charter schools eligible for renewal in the 2020-21 academic year will follow the timeline below:

  • May 2020 – CSO releases Renewal Application
  • July 2020 – Renewal Applications due
  • May 2020 – January 2021 – CSO analysis of schools against Charter School Performance Framework
  • Winter/Spring 2021 – CSO issues Renewal Recommendations

Click here for the current renewal application and guidelines for charter schools.

Nonrenewal/Revocation Process

The process for a charter authorizer to close a charter school in Pennsylvania can be lengthy with numerous steps required under the Charter School Law. In Philadelphia, the process is as follows:

  1. The Charter Schools Office publicly posts an evaluation with a recommendation for nonrenewal or revocation of a charter.
  2. The Board takes a vote to approve a Notice of Nonrenewal or Notice of Revocation at a public meeting.
  3. If the notice is approved by the Board, the Board President appoints a hearing officer to conduct a public hearing on the recommendation to nonrenew or to revoke the charter. At this hearing, the district presents evidence to support nonrenewal/revocation, and the charter school is given an opportunity to offer testimony and exhibits on why the charter should instead be renewed.
  4. After the hearing is concluded, a 30-day period is designated for public comment.
  5. After the public comment period closes, the hearing officer presents findings regarding the evidence to the Board for consideration. This process can take several months, as the hearing officer considers all public comments, testimony, and evidence presented in the record.
  6. If the Board votes to nonrenew/revoke the charter, the charter school has the opportunity to appeal to the State Charter Appeal Board (CAB). The charter school has a right to remain open during the Board hearing and appeal to CAB. The appeal process can take many months; it has lasted longer than one school year in the past.
  7. Following the CAB’s decision, the charter school or the district may appeal the decision to the Commonwealth Court, and then to the Supreme Court. If the CAB upholds the nonrenewal or revocation, the CAB orders the charter school to close once the written decision is received, typically at the end of the current school year. If seeking a further appeal, the charter school may request a stay by the Commonwealth Court or the Supreme Court, as applicable.

Current charters pending nonrenewal/revocation include:

John B. Stetson Charter School
SRC Approved Notice of Nonrenewal on December 14, 2017
Location: 3200 B Street
Grades Served: 5-8

Olney Charter High School
SRC Approved Notice of Nonrenewal on December 14, 2017
Location: 100 West Duncannon Avenue
Grades Served: 9-12

Universal Bluford Charter School
Board of Education Approved Notice of Nonrenewal on April 30, 2020
Location: 5720 Media Street
Grades Served: K-6

Universal Daroff Charter School
SRC Approved Notice of Nonrenewal on April 30, 2020
Location: 5630 Vine Street
Grades Served: K-8