Charter schools in Philadelphia receive $8,500 from the school district for each student enrolled with them ($22,000 for students with special needs). It's a form of backpacking, where the money government is supposed to spend on students follows those students from school to school.
An inability to accurately project costs or budget, however, coupled with the popularity of charter schools, has left Philadelphia's school district looking to curb charter school enrollment in lieu of prioritizing spending to put students first.
The School Reform Commission (SRC), which actually governs the Philadelphia school district, unilaterally set an enrollment cap for charter schools, something at least one charter school is arguing in a lawsuit deprives them of due process. That case has now reached the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Via the PA Independent:
West Philadelphia Achievement Charter Elementary School requested a preliminary injunction to prevent the school district from taking action against the school. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court granted that last week, moving the case forward.
The outcome could be relevant to the entire charter sector in Pennsylvania.
"The implications are potentially huge because it deals with the constitutionality of the SRC to suspend rules for charter schools," said Bob O'Donnell, lead attorney for the plaintiff.
If the district wins, he said, it could open up the possibility of other school districts across the commonwealth seeking the same authority to control enrollment and therefore the cost of students attending charter schools.
Sounds like the district is putting its revenue stream ahead of children's interest, exactly what anti-choice advocates accuse proponents of school reform of doing.