Philadelphia school’s charter revoked after admissions lottery allegations

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Philadelphia charter school had its charter revoked after allegations the school’s previous administration mishandled the admissions lottery, district officials confirmed Friday.In a meeting Thursday night, the Philadelphia Board of Education voted 8-1 to revoke Franklin Towne Charter High School’s charter, according to a district spokesperson.Franklin Towne officials released a statement saying administrators were “blindsided” by an email from the Charter School Office about the revocation. The school said its new CEO who took over in February contracted an outside agency to investigate how the lottery was handled.The charter school’s statement on the revocation said, in part:”Our school should be celebrated, not rushed into condemnation for the alleged actions of individuals no longer employed. The School District of Philadelphia should allow us the time needed to complete our investigation. It is our hope the Board of Education will put the brakes on the Charter School’s Office move toward revocation and allow justice to be done where justice must be served, and not punish hundreds of innocent students, families, and staff members for something they had no part in committing.”The Board of Education claimed in a statement that its decision was to ensure schools and its leaders comply with laws and regulations regarding an “equitable lottery process that allows any student from any part of the city to have an equal opportunity to access public education.”

“This is not a decision that we take lightly as a Board,” the board said, in part, in a statement. “We understand the impact of this decision on the Franklin Towne Charter High School’s existing students, families, staff and entire school community.”The board’s statement said, in part:It is our duty and responsibility as authorizers to hold charter schools accountable under established standards and for providing access to all students in accordance with applicable laws. Discriminatory conduct, if verified, undermines the collective ability of the Board and the public to have faith in the system of accountability that we have established. If a charter school is picking and choosing which students to enroll, the credibility of the subsequent successes of that charter school is called into question. We have to wrestle with these principles. While we must hold schools accountable, the Charter School Law provides us with limited options – revocation or nonrenewal. Through this process, our goal is to understand the facts and make a determination in the best interest of students.This is a developing story and will be updated.

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