Nationally noted activist/educator Dr. Walter D. Palmer, founder of an innovative charter school in Philadelphia, is in a historic battle with Philadelphia School District officials which could impact charters across Pennsylvania as well as the current debates nationwide over reforming public education.
At issue is the failure of Philadelphia district officials to provide $1.7-million in funds for the high school at Palmer’s charter–money that he says prior school district officials approved but never delivered.
District officials counter that the Walter D. Palmer Leadership Learning Charter School, before launching its high school, never obtained formal approval from the School Reform Commission. As a consequence, they claim the school district owes the school nothing.
The SRC is a state government created and controlled entity that oversees public schools in Philadelphia including the 74 charters operating in that city.
If Palmer looses this battle, now being fought out in Pennsylvania’s appellate Commonwealth Court, it could bankrupt the school he opened in 2000, shuttering the impressive multi-million new building opened a few years ago in an impoverished section of North Philadelphia.
A win for the Palmer School enables charter schools in Philadelphia and statewide to increase enrollments.