Bluford and Daroff charters will have a delayed back-to-school date, while Daroff is expected to close immediately

The start of the school year will be delayed for two charter schools in struggling West Philadelphia, and the Philadelphia school board has scheduled an emergency meeting on Friday that could see one school closed immediately and the other closed. at the end of the 2022-23 school year.

The dramatic developments occurred Thursday morning, with Daroff and Bluford charter schools advising parents via social networks that classes “will not start school for students on Monday, August 29, as previously planned. The start of the two schools will be delayed. Children should not be dropped off or walked to these schools during the week of August 29 to September 2. »

At the same time, the school board, which oversees all Philadelphia charters, released of an emergency meeting that could result in Daroff being closed immediately, its students moving to Bluford for this school year, and Bluford eventually relinquishing its charter at the end of the upcoming school year.

READ MORE: School district has ‘serious concerns’ about two Philadelphia charters

The board had previously publicly expressed “serious concerns” about academics and the operational integrity of Bluford and Daroff. The schools, as of last week, have no apparent management structure and a double-digit teacher shortage. The council also raised red flags about security.

A large number of staff had left both schools.

The school district had also contacted the Bluford and Daroff families to convey the council’s concerns and encourage them to enroll their children in other schools in the district.

According to board documents, Daroff will immediately relinquish its charter, Bluford’s capacity limit will be increased to 700 students, and it will absorb any Daroff students whose families want them transferred to Bluford. But at the end of the school year, Bluford will also drop its charter.

Bluford will return to the district on July 1, and the school board “reserves all rights to take immediate action to revoke Bluford’s charter and order Bluford closed by June 30, 2023,” according to an agreement to be voted on. by the school board on Friday.

Both schools are former neighborhood district schools that, after years of academic underachievement, were turned over to Universal Companies Inc. to operate them as charters. After tensions between the Bluford-Daroff board and Universal, the company ended its management agreement with the schools at the end of July.

A spokesperson for the combined Bluford-Daroff board said over the weekend that some of the safety issues cited by the district relate to damage to the building when Universal removed its property from the building at the end of the contract. Representatives for Universal unequivocally denied the accusation and said staff at Bluford and Daroff watched as their staff removed company property and cameras filmed the removal. No police report was filed.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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