District severs ties with alternative school provider

The Philadelphia School District has severed ties with a for-profit alternative education company that runs alternative schools in the region.

Delaware Valley High School, which laid off its staff in July, will no longer run a disciplinary school and a program for at-risk students, as it has in the past, district officials said.

“Due to business reasons, the district decided not to enter into a new contract with DVHS,” said spokesman Fernando Gallard said Wednesday.

That decision is final, said Gallard.

Delaware Valley’s records have been subpoenaed by a federal grand jury, and the organization last month laid off 50 teachers and administrative staffers. The staffers say they are owed back pay for work performed during the 2011-12 school year.

Attorney Alan E. Casnoff, who represents Delaware Valley, disputed the district's claim and said negotiations are ongoing.

"There are some very open legal issues due to the timing of the notice, and the appropriateness of the notice," Casnoff said. "Their position may be that it's closed.  Mine is that it's not."

Casnoff has said that the school is prepared for students, despite the layoff notices.

The School Reform Commission approved contracts with Delaware Valley and other alternative service providers earlier this year, but they have not been signed.

To fill the gap left by Delaware Valley, Gallard said, "we'll be working with other providers within our network."

Delaware Valley still has contracts with other area districts.