For some readers, I failed miserably at dissecting the Daily Times article ‘Chester Upland ordered to open its doors to charters’ with my blog post ‘Judge rules Chester-Upland School District turned over to the Charters.’ So, as one Facebook comment suggested I do, I’m going to try to ‘fix it’.

Brief History

The Chester-Upland School District has been operating at a financial deficit for years (depending on who you ask). Most recent news indicates there is an estimated $30 million required over the next three years at district schools just as a “Band-Aid” to keep them safe and the school district owes $4.9 million in payments to charter schools ordered by the Commonwealth Court.  

Delaware County Court of Common Pleas

The judge has just ruled an order intended to be a ‘road map’ for the school district, providing priority to initiatives and strategies recommended in the revised financial recovery plan.

The judge just included a directive for the district’s receiver to solicit requests for proposal (RFP) and for the district to consider the potential need for strategic options in managing and delivering pre-kindergarten – 12th grade schools, or any variation thereof.

What’s the mean?

It means two things. 1) The judge sent a directive to send out RFPs for new people to come manage and teach preK to 12th grade. 2) The judge still gives the school district, and you people who pay school taxes, the opportunity to come up with strategic options to avoid an RFP process. 

What does Chester Community Charter School (CCCS) have to do with any of this?

Back when the judge was trying to sort out all this school district stuff, CCCS proposed that the judge consider Act 141 of 2012 which would allow the district to convert an existing school or schools to charters if doing so would result in financial savings. If the judge would consider that option, CCCS said they’d be there to support K-8th grade education and would leave the high school to the the school district. 

The judge took it under consideration. When pressed later at a hearing, the judge told CCCS it was ‘premature’ and wanted more time to consider it. 

On Friday, not only did the judge agree that’s the way to go, he went a step further and included the high school as fair game to the RFP process.

Does this mean the Charters will run the Chester-Upland School District?

No. The district, and you tax payers, still have a chance to make suggestions the judge would have to approval that will avoid an RFP process. However, if he doesn’t like our suggestions, the most likely entities who would respond to the RFPs will be charter schools. The most likely charter schools to be selected would be ones already operating in Chester, but all others from around the world would have an equal shot at applying – depending on how the RFP is written.

Where does Rondae Hollis-Jefferson’s CHAP Charter School fit in

Most of the angst from my blog post had to do with something regarding Rondae’s photo or his desire to start a charter school. I’m not sure what folks were upset about but now that a RFP process is likely to occur, Rondae will be in a great position to apply to manage an existing Chester school and not be subject to the existing approval process to get the okay to open a new charter. He may choose to not buy and renovate an old school building (St. James High School) and go after a Stester, STEM, or even Chester High School since the entire district will likely be available to bid on. 

I think a lot of people were upset that I suggested having Rondae (an active NBA player) operating a school in Chester could help boost the sports programs, which in turn could keep more Chester athletes attending Chester schools and bring more money into the schools through sponsorships and exposure which would help support better education. This whole judge’s decision is about money in the first place. I apologize to those I upset with that opinion. 

Conclusion

I don’t think I can break it down any further.