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Philadelphia School Partnership to put money into top schools

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With backing from local philanthropists and business leaders, a new initiative launched this fall aims to raise $100 million over five years to improve city schools regardless of whether they are public, charter, or private.

Called the Philadelphia School Partnership, it is the brainchild of developer Michael O'Neill and aims to create 26,000 additional "quality seats" in city schools. O'Neill said that schools would be awarded funding based on meeting high standards.

While most of the money would go to support and create good schools, the initiative also plans to spend about $7 million on creating a school assessment and rating system, promoting family engagement, sharing best practices among schools, and coordinating facilities usage across systems.

The effort appeared to have hit an early setback when its first executive director, Nicholas Torres, formerly of Congreso de Latino Unidos, left only four weeks after the group's October 7 unveiling. A statement from the group said that he "has decided to pursue a different career." The partnership has hired a search firm to find a replacement. In the meantime, consultant Benjamin Rayer, formerly the School District official in charge of school partnerships and charters, is filling in.

For more information, see www.philaschoolpartnership.org.

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Dale Mezzacappa

@dalemezz
Dale is a contributing editor at the Notebook. She has reported on education since 1986, most of that time with The Philadelphia Inquirer.

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