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.

In 2018, the CSO released an updated Charter School Performance Framework, based on charter sector feedback, research, and national standards for charter authorizing.

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) with supplemental rules outlined here.

Application and Timeline

Charter schools eligible for renewal in the 2017–18 academic year will follow the timeline below:

  • June 29, 2018: CSO releases the renewal application.
  • July 2018: CSO holds a webinar and schedules walk-in times for school leaders.
  • July 2018 to December 2018: OAS Enrollment Audit and Financial Review.
  • July 2018 to August 2018: CSO meets with the Board of Trustees.
  • August 8, 2018 to Applicants submit a letter of intent by 5:00pm.
  • September 14, 2018: Applicants submit their renewal narrative and application by 5:00pm.
  • August 2018 to September 2018: Applicants undergo renewal site visit orientation.  October 2018 to December 2018: CSO conducts renewal site visits.
  • Spring 2019: CSO releases its recommendations for renewal and charter agreements are shared.
  • Spring 2019: The Board reviews and considers CSO recommendations for renewal.

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:

Laboratory Charter School of Communication and Languages
SRC Approved Notice of Nonrenewal on May 1, 2017
Location: 5901 Woodbine Avenue; 5339 Lebanon Avenue; 800 North Orianna Street
Grades Served: K-8
CSO Nonrenewal Recommendation Report, Charter Nonrenewal Update

Khepera Charter School
SRC Approved Notice of Revocation on June 15, 2017
Location: 926 W. Sedgley Avenue
Grades Served: K–8
CSO Revocation Memo

Eastern University Academy Charter School
SRC Approved Notice of Nonrenewal on June 15, 2017
Location: 3300 Henry Avenue
Grades Served: 7–12
CSO Nonrenewal Recommendation Report

Richard Allen Preparatory Charter School
SRC Approved Notice of Nonrenewal and Revocation on October 19, 2017
Location: 2601 S. 58th Street
Grades Served: 5-8
CSO Nonrenewal and Revocation Recommendation Report