"The board of trustees has reluctantly authorized me to propose to the SRC a negotiated resolution whereby Hope would waive its right to a public hearing and agree to close the school at the end of the 2012-13 school year, with our charter terminating June 30, 2013," Wilson said.
Hope, in West Oak Lane, opened in 2002 as a second-chance school for struggling secondary students. The school had applied for a new five-year charter. But the commission voted in April to put Hope and two other schools on notice that their charters would not be renewed due to poor academic performance and management concerns.
Under the state charter law, Hope, Truebright Science Academy, and Arise Academy have the right to hearings to make their cases for remaining open, before the SRC makes its financial decisions.
The district had said that, during the appeal process, all three would remain open for the next academic year.
In a bid to keep Hope open, Wilson said, his board had given the district's charter office a proposed "transformation plan." The proposal called for Hope to be taken over and managed by Big Picture-Philadelphia, a nonprofit with a successful track record running a district program for at-risk students.
Wilson said the plan fell through because the district did not respond.
"While the board and the staff of Hope disagree with the nonrenewal decision, the board has decided it is in the best interests of the students at Hope to focus all of our time, energy, and resources on ensuring a successful 2012-13 school year and spending that year on educating our students and ensuring an orderly transition of our students and staff," he said.
Hope had 427 ninth through 12th graders in the academic year that just ended. Wilson said that given the uncertainty over the charter's fate, he was not sure how many students would be enrolled in the fall.
Michael Davis, the district's general counsel, said he would work with Hope's attorney to prepare documents to present to the SRC for a later vote.
Commission member Lorene Cary thanked Hope's board for its "courageous and thoughtful decision" to focus on students' needs.
Also Friday, the SRC renewed the operating charters for Mastery-Pickett in Germantown; KIPP West Philadelphia; Tacony Academy in Rhawnhurst; Boys Latin of Philadelphia in Southwest Philadelphia; and First Philadelphia in Frankford.
As part of the renewals, the commission said Mastery-Pickett, which has been a seventh-to-12th-grade school, could add a sixth grade with 136 students. KIPP-West Philadelphia, a fifth-to-eighth-grade school, was authorized to add 15 students.
Boys Latin, a college-prep school, will add a middle-school program for 320 sixth- through eighth-grade boys.
And First Philadelphia - a kindergarten-to-ninth-grade school with 730 students - will be permitted to enroll an additional 1,150 students to create a high school and open a second K-8 building.
Commission member Joseph A. Dworetzky praised First Philadelphia's successful academic track record, but voted against the measure based on the magnitude of the enrollment increase and financial implications for a district that is facing a shortfall of at least $218 million in the next fiscal year.
Under questioning by Dworetzky, Thomas A. Darden, a deputy who oversees charter schools, said his office put the cost of the 1,621 new charter seats approved Friday at $3 million the first year. The amount would total about $38 million by the end of the fifth year of the renewals, he said.
"These are very big numbers," Dworetzky said. "Cost is a factor, and if we don't consider cost, we're not doing our jobs."
The district has signed the Great Schools Compact and pledged to add 50,000 seats within five years in high-performing schools citywide.
Contact Martha Woodall
at 215-854-2789 or firstname.lastname@example.org.