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Can $35 million buy the Philadelphia School District?

Can $35 million buy the Philadelphia School District?

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Is the Philadelphia School District up for sale?

It seems to be the central question facing taxpayers in the wake of a $35 million offer from the non-profit Philadelphia Philadelphia School Partnership (PSP).

Most of the money —$25 million—would go to fund new charter school applications that the School District says it can’t afford to approve. Another $10 million would go to District schools.

If the School District takes the money, PSP hopes it will help to create 15,000 more charter school seats for city students. There’s a problem, though. The School District estimates it would take around $500 million to put 15, 000 more students into charter schools.

I talked to PSP Executive Director Mark Gleason in an interview on 900 am WURD, and asked him if the PSP offer for new charter schools was sufficient.

“It’s not enough forever,” Gleason told me, “but by our estimation, it would be enough to cover the cost of approving some, not all of the charter applications on a staggered basis over the next three years…”

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Photo: A broken piggy bank. Click here to see the original photo (Images Money /Flickr Creative Commons).

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Solomon Jones is an Essence bestselling author and award-winning columnist. He is the creator and editor of and morning host on 900 am WURD radio. Click here to learn more about Solomon