Belmont Charter School, which was converted from a district-run school, won approval Friday from the School Reform Commission to operate a new high school starting in July 1, 2017.

The state-controlled body that administers Philadelphia public schools also voted to revoke the charter for World Communications Charter School, citing a host of issues, including records that show a plummeting high school graduation rate, inconsistencies in disciplinary policies and special education practices. The Office of Charter School will schedule revocation hearings in the near future, according to the school district’s website.

A crowd of about 70 students, parents and staff who came out in support of Belmont immediately rose from their seats, cheering and applauding their approval and hastily headed for the exit. The vote was a welcome turnaround for Belmont Charter, which saw its original plan for a new high school rejected by the SRC in April.

Teacher Frenchola Bey instructs her students at Belmont Charter School. Photo provided by Ceisler Media

The revised application was approved in a 3-to-2 vote, with Commissioners William Green, Sylvia Simms and Farah Jimenez casting votes in favor of accepting the revised charter with several conditions. Commissioners Feather Houston and Marjorie Neff voted against the revised charter proposal.

Belmont Charter School’s Jennifer Faustman said the board of directors is faced with a decision on building a new free-standing high school with an enrollment capacity of 300 students or expanding its campus building for a maximum enrollment of 500 students.

Published in the Philadelphia Tribune

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