Chester Community Charter School Response to Commonwealth Court Opinion From Dr. David Clark, CEO, CCCS January 30, 2012

Jan 31, 2012, 01:10 ET from Chester Community Charter School

CHESTER, Pa., Jan. 31, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- We are, of course, disappointed by today's ruling by the Commonwealth Court. Although it does not reach the merits of the case, the Court's decision not to order immediate payment to Chester Community Charter School (CCCS) of approximately $7 million that is overdue, a deficit that will soon be $10 million on February 5 and over $13 million on March 5 without Court intervention, imperils CCCS and its students. 

The implication of the ruling is that the charter school – and its three thousand Chester students – should suffer the negative effects of program reductions and layoffs in order to establish credibility for our reasonable efforts to obtain the funding required to continue to provide high quality education to the children of the City of Chester.

CCCS is the entity in Chester that built nine de novo school facilities on two campuses, managed its own budgets professionally and effectively, and whose students achieved AYP for three consecutive years. No doubt that is why parents in the city of Chester have gained such confidence in the school's quality that CCCS now educates 60 percent of all K-8 grade students, in the city.

Unfortunately the ruling seems to imply that CCCS should discontinue all that has been done to provide these, and other, very favorable outcomes, and that our students are no longer deserving of a fully functioning educational experience, simply because the Chester Upland School District has not been able to handle its own fiscal affairs.

As an example, despite submitting a budget in June of $96 million for the 2011-2012 fiscal year, the District made no material changes to its operations and thus knew that it would be over-budget by tens of millions of dollars. Incredibly, according to the Inquirer, the District is on pace to overspend its budget by $27 million, a 28% increase from the budget it passed just seven months ago. Last year, CUSD's budget was $113 million, so the District has outspent even last year's budget when it knew full well that there would be a decrease in funding. Put simply, the District's 2011-12 budget was a sham. All of this is occurring with charter schools like CCCS (and Widener) receiving less funding per student than the District. 

In the midst of all this, the Secretary of Education has been acting as the Receiver for the District for approximately the last six years and has had representatives working in the District on an ongoing basis. Nevertheless, the State and the District have continued to run the District into the ground, and unfortunately CCCS is now endangered by the Secretary's and the District's fiscal irresponsibility. 

In summary, CCCS takes significant issue with a ruling that suggests that the only way that CCCS can be entitled to receive funding for its students is to substantially reduce the overall effectiveness and quality of our school. Our attorneys will certainly contest this ruling.


SOURCE Chester Community Charter School