Let’s try to bring clarity to what went on in court yesterday concerning the continuing saga between the Chester-Upland school district versus Chester charter bigs schools versus Chester charter cyber schools versus the Pennsylvania Board of Education versus Judge Chad Kenney.
Below you’ll find a mash up of quotes from both Delcotimes.com and Philly.com to help bring it all together for you.
Newspaper quotes in italics…
Chester Upland’s three brick-and-mortar charters, Chester Community Charter School, Widener Partnership Charter School, and the Chester Charter School for the Arts, have agreed to the plan and to waive money that the district still owes them from the last school year.
We got a sneak peek last week of this plan where the big charter schools will write off the money the school district owes them and also agree to a reduced special education tuition reimbursement below the $40,000 scheduled to be paid and above the $16,000 the PA Dept of Ed proposed to pay. Somehow, they came up with $27,000 as the right number everyone could agree to based on some unknown formula we’ll probably never be privy to.
…cyber charter schools presented arguments Wednesday before President Judge Chad Kenney on why he should deny a plan proposed by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) and the Chester Upland School District that would reduce charter school tuition reimbursements and wipe out debt already owed to the charter schools.
Paul D’Angelo said that Agora ended the 2014-15 school year with a $65,000 surplus and has since had to open an $8,000,000 line of credit to finance its operations. He said that Agora has not been paid by Chester Upland since July 1 and is still owed some money from the 2014-15 school year.
The cyber charter schools are pissed they were left out of the agreement discussion in the first place.
James Flandreau, representing the PDE, said that the agreement reached with the three brick-and-mortar charters was beneficial for the cybers because the cybers would be receiving the same payments while incurring less costs.
“We’d be providing them with a rate that is $11,000 more than the rate we’ve established here as more than enough,” Flandreau said, referring to the $16,000 figure set forth in a previous recovery plan. “There is no hardship being impose on the charters.”
Hold on there Babalouie! Nobody agreed to the $16,000 y’all tried to sneak through the first time. So, you can’t say that now that you propose $27,000, it’s $11,000 more than the rate you established, because it was never established.
Joshua J. Voss, attorney for Chester Community Charter School, said the school had $960,000 in cash and couldn’t pay its teachers after Oct. 16 or next month’s rent.
Although the big charter schools agreed to forgive past debt, they still want it to be known that they are cash strapped and can’t pay teachers after October 16. Raise you hand if that makes any sense to you.
Francis V. Barnes, the district’s state-appointed receiver says…
The Chester Upland School District is poised to finally overcome years of financial distress…the steps he was seeking would eliminate the district’s structural deficit and once and for all fix the district’s chronic fiscal issues.
Is he serious? There is nothing to justify their poise-ness or the steps to fix these problems. If those steps were in place, they wouldn’t be in court begging.
The new plan also depends on a onetime $25 million infusion from the state to eliminate Chester Upland’s negative balance.
Kenney said he wasn’t optimistic the legislature would approve a bill from Rep. Thaddeus Kirkland (D., Delaware) authorizing the funds.
Thank you Judge Kenney for having the heart to say what many of us have been whispering among ourselves. A bill with no sponsors not only is poised to fail, it may not even have a chance to be voted on.
James Flandreau, attorney for the state Department of Education, said the state was tapped out…There is no deep well of money
It’s all about the money, and if there is no money, what’s the solution?