Democratic mayoral candidate Lynne Abraham said today that she wants the School Reform Commission to hold off on possibly expanding the city's number of charter school until after the next mayor is elected.
Abraham, the former city district attorney, said in a statement that adding more charter schools could "virtually break the back of the school budget already under considerable stress."
The SRC is scheduled to vote on Wednesday on 39 applications for new charters.
Below is the full statement that Abraham's campaign released today:
"I urge the SRC to delay and defer the approval of any new charter schools. The SRC should not bow to pressure from outside interests to approve new charter schools. The apparent haste to approve new charter schools is unwarranted, and will virtually break the back of the school budget already under considerable stress.
"The rapid growth of charter schools has imperiled our children by removing huge amounts of money from the public school system. The proposed move by the SRC tomorrow will irreparably harm our children.
"No decision on the applications of the 39 additional charter schools should be made until a new mayor is elected. Until that time, there should be a moratorium on new charter school approvals. That will ensure that the entire issue of public education can be thoroughly, carefully, and openly discussed with input from all stakeholders.
"Voting on these applicants without a full, public vetting is tantamount to franchising our schools without regard to the standards set forth in Pennsylvania’s charter school law, including judgment made on an individual basis, the capability of the applicant, the level of community support, and the ability of the proposed school to serve as a model for other schools.
"Lacking from this process is an insistence that full funding of our schools must be restored, and our teachers be respected.
"Philadelphia’s kids deserve better. Our city deserves better. Our kids should not be pawns of people who want to make millions in the charter school industry. All Philadelphia students must be assured a seat at a great public school with dedicated teachers, a strong curriculum, and a safe environment."