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Head of District's Charter Schools Office resigns

By by Benjamin Herold for NewsWorks, a Notebook news partner on Apr 1, 2013 12:02 PM

For the second time in less than a year, the head of the Philadelphia School District's Charter Schools Office is stepping down.

Doresah Ford-Bey, the District's executive director of charter schools, will resign effective this Friday. In an email to colleagues, Ford-Bey wrote that she has taken a position with Chicago Public Schools.

"I was presented with an opportunity I could not turn down," she wrote.

The move leaves the District's charter office with three vacancies among its seven full-time staff positions. The office is now overseeing the conversion of three District-managed schools to charters as part of the Renaissance schools initiative. The District is also in the midst of deciding whether to renew 16 city charter schools. Fourteen of those schools, as well as six other charters seeking modifications, are hoping to expand.

Thomas Darden, the previous head of the Charter Schools Office, resigned in July after a series of public missteps.

A spokesman said the District will begin recruiting a replacement for Ford-Bey this week.
 

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Comments (21)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 1, 2013 12:22 pm
She shouldn't be hard to replace as that job is nothing but a rubber stamp for the SRC, Corbett and Zogby.
Submitted by Annonymous (not verified) on April 1, 2013 12:17 pm
She actually has integrity. Kihn and the SRC are the rubber stamp for Corbett and Zogby. Why else would she leave right before Kihn announces the charter expansions?
Submitted by tom-104 on April 1, 2013 1:34 pm
But she is going to Chicago where they want to close 54 schools as they are expanding charters.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 1, 2013 2:18 pm
I think she originally came from Chicago.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 1, 2013 1:33 pm
I completely agree. It's easy to find a pushover for this job. Much more difficult to find someone with the backbone that she has.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 2, 2013 5:36 am
I am sure that there are many reasons that she is leaving Philadelphia. Maybe the impending salary cut is too much for her. Maybe the fact that she assumed all the responsibilities without compensation was too much for her. Maybe the disrespect shown to her by the new administration was too much for her. Maybe just maybe she could see that the District is on a downward spiral and thought to leave before she loses her integrity. Either way....good move.
Submitted by tom-104 on April 2, 2013 5:14 am
There has been no announcement that salaries will be cut for top administrators. They got a huge raise a few months ago, some as much as 40%.
Submitted by Annonymous (not verified) on April 2, 2013 7:01 am
The powers that be will argue 'we have to pay attractive wages/benefits to get good talent." Someone, those in power don't realize it is the same for teachers. Anyone if Khin's contract is for more than a year? He is the heart of the problem.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 2, 2013 11:10 pm
During the budget meeting it was announced a 10% imposed pay cut for all non-reps which includes many in top positions. The issue is that there are many who are not making top salaries. There were no salary adjustments for Ford-Bey as she assumed took on the responsibilities with no extra pay. There was money for some but not for her. Penny Nixon prior to her departure continued to promote and increase the salaries of many.....open the books it is a fact. This is well after the first wave of cuts for non-reps, furlough days and pay towards benefits.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 2, 2013 11:47 am
Yes -- Hite and Kihn's biggest mistake so far (that I have seen) has been not taking her direction on charter issues. The district will pay for this in the end (literally and figuatively).
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 1, 2013 1:05 pm
The SRC gave out alot of charter school seats last year. Now their budget shows a deficit containing increased costs because of the charter schools. They want the School District unions to give back their earnings to fund the additional costs of the charter schools. Does anyone else see this as a problem?
Submitted by rob (not verified) on April 1, 2013 2:34 pm
Here are my predictions: Vacancies in charter department mean SDP don't have manpower to view renewal proposals. The SRC will extend 1 year charter to all school with same number of seats. Charters will take district to court and/or increase enrollment and take payment. Ultimately the SDP will lose. Or: SDP has been working with charters and PSP to buy old district buildings for relocation of charters. The deal is that the schools will only be bought if the increase in enrollments are honored.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 1, 2013 4:40 pm
I disagree with the first option -- reviewing renewals is mandated on a timeline set forth in the PA charter law. One-year renewals can be for lack of current academic data only. Furthermore, banks don't like to loan money to schools with 1-year charters (and landlords don't like to extend leases for one year). Charters do not want a 1-year renewal, they want their 5-year renewals. Not going through the renewal cycle would be very bad for both SRC, SDP and charters. This is why they start the renewal process in October. My guess is that the office's recommendations for this year have already been given to the SRC.
Submitted by Annonymous (not verified) on April 1, 2013 4:01 pm
Will the SRC listen? Other than Dworetsky, the SRC members only appear to listen to Corbett. They are Corbett's rubber stamp.
Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on April 1, 2013 5:38 pm
I suspect Plan B is the way they'll go. Either way, decisions had been made long ago for the very most part.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 1, 2013 3:20 pm
lol,what a joke.i should open a charter school....lmao
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 1, 2013 5:55 pm
It's too late, didn't anyone tell you, they are Not opening any new charter schools.
Submitted by Phantom Poster (not verified) on April 2, 2013 5:38 pm
I am sick over the demise of the true public school district of philadelphia. The charterers have won. How could the school district NOT be buried financially when it is responsible for paying charters for kids they enroll - whether from public, private, or out of district - while also forced to pay unbudgeted charter over-enrollments. No business could survive with this burden and the lack of funding certainty, let alone a government entity - it's a shell game that can't be won. Where's the silver lining for an average kid? Who will look out for kids with less-than-perfect records or those who are needy beyond belief? I miss the idealism of the past that drove me into teaching and really hate the cynical, politicized, negative environment in which we live. Yeah - it's all about the children... Public education cannot be allowed to die.
Submitted by Mark (not verified) on April 2, 2013 7:07 pm
Predictions are that the SDP will be over in 5 years. :-(
Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on April 2, 2013 8:47 pm
If it dies, Democracy will follow shortly thereafter.
Submitted by Phantom Poster (not verified) on April 2, 2013 8:30 pm
It's over. I, and so many friends, graduated from philadelphia public schools and met each other through district events or athletic or academic contests. That day is done. The balkanization of public education in Philadelphia is complete.

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