PHILADELPHIA--"The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers is calling for the School Reform Commission to place a moratorium on new charter schools until the financial crisis that has consistently plagued our school district has been resolved. It is unfair and irresponsible to continue to siphon more money away from traditional public schools to feed a large network of charter schools that have not proved to be a better educational option.
“Our school district continues to be mired in a huge fiscal deficit, with schools unable to provide even the most basic resources for children. In the meantime, charter schools will cost the district $750 million this year—one third of the total school district budget. Every additional dollar spent on charter schools is money that takes books, technology, counselors, nurses, librarians, world languages, music, art and extracurricular activities away from children in traditional public schools.
“The argument for more school choice has no merit. There are enough charter schools in Philadelphia to form the second largest school district in Pennsylvania. There are currently 86 charter schools in Philadelphia. The entire city of Pittsburgh has 54 traditional public schools. Philadelphia's parents have more than enough choices when it comes to selecting schools for their children. It is now time to properly fund our schools so that every child has equal access to a quality education.
“In order for every neighborhood school to have the resources necessary to give students the tools they need to succeed, there needs to be a change in the way public education is funded in Pennsylvania. We need a fair funding formula for public schools statewide and restoration of the charter school reimbursement line item in the state’s budget.
“Until every traditional public school has what it needs to provide high-quality learning environments for our children, we should not even entertain the thought of spending hundreds of millions of dollars more on charter schools at the expense of traditional public schools.
“The charter school companies are doing fine. It's traditional public schools that are suffering and in need of our support.”