UPDATE FROM THE COMPACT COMMITTEE
June 27, 2013
JUNE 18, 2013
Universal Enrollment Update
Miles Wilson called the meeting to order; acknowledging that several voting members of the Committee were in Harrisburg and as a result there would not be a quorum to approve the minutes and update from the last Compact meeting in April. Wilson then introduced Ramsey Green, Universal Enrollment (UE) management consultant, and Dr. Sean Vereen, President of Stepping Stone Scholars and UE working group member to provide the Compact with a working group update. Following this, Green launched into the update of the UE working group. He touched on several new policies that have been recommended since the last update to the Compact in April:
1. The “main round” of initial school assignments will be governed by an algorithm that is strategy-proof, transparent, and audible. Unassigned students or those who do not participate are notified and encouraged to participate in the Second Round. Students who are satisfied with their assigned seat will not be required to respond. Enrollment following will be managed separately.
2. Following the Main Round after 30 to 45 days is a “Round Two,” in which any student can participate even if they’ve already participated in the Main Round. However, any student given an offer who chooses to attempt for another school will give up their placement in favor of a new one. Capacity at schools during Round Two will be based upon balance of offers remaining at each school following the Main Round.
3. Students not assigned a seat in Round Two will receive an administrative assignment based upon a formula that provides an equitable means of allocating the best seats available.
4. An appeals process will be available for any student with the understanding that they would relinquish their placement at their currently-offered school for a new placement at another school.
5. The UE system will be equitable and not allow “admitted at the door” students; this system will balance choice, available space, and equity; “Family Centers” located throughout Philadelphia with enrollment function will be critical.
Green also touched on the exhaustive list of stakeholder outreach that the working group has committed to; which include multiple meetings with the UE parent advisory group, meetings with City Council members, State Representatives and various school operators. Paul Kihn recommended doing a presentation in front of District principals in order to gain additional feedback on the system. The floor was then turned over to Dr. Sean Vereen, who provided a presentation on ideas coming out of the working group on what entity should operate the UE system after the first year of operation.
Casey Carter commented that whomever the Compact partners with in forming the UE office, that they are forward-thinking and capable of helping to foot the costs. Paul Kihn indicated that UE and housing it outside the District is one of the District’s priorities in forming strategic partnerships and that it will be on a list of items raised during talks with potential partners.
Travis Larrier began the funding update by thanking the District and charters for their joint advocacy efforts in Harrisburg on education funding, stating that the level of partnership in this area has been unprecedented. It has been a “game changer” and making a difference on both the city and state level. He recommended that stakeholders stay engaged with members of City Council as the mayor has three proposals for increased funding to the District: a $20-28 million projected in delinquent tax collections $45 million dollar projected cigarette tax, and a $25 million projected liquor tax for a total $95 million in revenue for the District. However, all of these taxes require state authorization along with securing an additional $120 million from the state. Larrier stated that Harrisburg recognizes the fiscal crisis in Philadelphia and are taking it seriously.
Charter Office Update
Paul Kihn explained that he was initially scheduled to provide the Compact with an overview of the work the District has done to its charter office, its intended launch of stakeholder engagement, and its revamp of all authorizing policies employed by the charter school office. He indicated that there is a plan to work with all stakeholders and to gain input from the charter community over a span of 2 to 3 months; however the overview has been delayed but should be ready within a matter of days.