This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
The School District is promising to “totally restructure” its network of more than a dozen privately managed alternative and disciplinary schools to improve existing programs, standardize contracts with providers, and develop new partnerships.
The reorganization affects seven small “accelerated schools” serving about 1,200 over-age high school students who are behind in their credits, as well as six disciplinary schools for about 3,500 students who have been sent there for “Level Two” violations of the School District code of conduct.
The District has been paying a total of $49 million to outside providers to manage these schools. All provider contracts are being terminated effective June 20 and renegotiated for one year. The District will then issue a request for proposals for “alternative education services,” aiming to put new programs in place by July 2009.
The contracts are being renegotiated, according to Interim Chief Academic Officer Cassandra Jones, because “everybody had different indicators in their contracts, depending on when they came into the District.” The largest is with Community Education Partners (CEP), which gets more than $30 million to manage disciplinary schools and accelerated schools.
A District task force on alternative education has recommended sweeping changes. Jones said that the District hopes the restructuring will permit more slots and better services for the same money.