Once again, I was accused of being the bearer of bad news when yesterday I shared the Philly Inquirer article about Chester Community Charter School (CCCS) receiving $5-$10 million in Paycheck Protection Program funds (government stimulus money). I reread the post to find where the bad news was and couldn’t find it. 

With all the talk about Chester schools being grossly underfunded, how could another $5 million being tossed to a school be bad news? 

The Delaware County Times picked up on the story today which didn’t share anything new regarding the PPP money, but the article did help define the complexities of a charter organization. 

The CCCS spokesperson broke it down like this…

  • Charters are public schools according to law
  • Charters are non-profit organizations
  • Charters are not school districts and therefore cannot levy taxes
  • Archway Charter School of Chester Inc. is the nonprofit entity doing business as Chester Community Charter School.
  • Charter School Management Inc., is the private company that manages Chester Community Charter School. 

Like many other entities in Chester who can’t produce any financial information beyond 2017, the Daily Times reports…

Tax records for Archway in 2017, the latest available public filing, indicate the non-profit received approximately $66 million in “grants” and spent $41.6 million on education services. It also paid $18 million under a line item for “management” that year.

So, even though CCCS received up to $10 million in stimulus money, it doesn’t come close to covering their management costs. But, as the article also states, the PPP funds were designed to save jobs and the money helped save 479 jobs.

I’m not sure if saved is the right word since it appears the school received all the money they were supposed to receive from the Chester and Philadelphia school districts that would have paid the teachers anyway.

CCCS says there was a delay in getting money out of the Chester-Upland School District which justifies their PPP loan/grant application, but now that CUSD paid up, I guess Fred Green and them (the Chester-Upland school board) will demand CCCS kick that money back to them.  Or, maybe CCCS will be forced to treat the CUSD portion as a loan and must repay the government that amount.

Obviously, I don’t understand this stuff, but I do understand our schools need money thrown their way. The Daily Times reports the Chester Scholars Academy charter school and the Chester-Upland School District got some stimulus money, too. In all, as much as $15 million new dollars floated into Chester schools this summer. Holla!

As asked in the last post, what do you think CCCS should do with an extra $5-$10 million? They need to hear your input before they spend it on something you’re not happy about. 

It’s up to you to make this a good news story.