Penn Alexander School adds kindergarten class

April 20, 2012

Parents lining up outside Penn Alexander School in January.

The School Reform Commission last night quietly passed a resolution that adds a fourth kindergarten class at Penn Alexander School. The resolution strikes a deal between The University of Pennsylvania, which will reportedly pay for the additional class, and The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers.

An additional 18-student kindergarten classroom will be added to take pressure off the demand for kindergarten spots at Penn Alexander. Parents of young children who live in the Penn Alexander catchment area covet admission to the limited kindergarten spots because they usually assure admission to the 1st grade.

Penn Alexander has garnered attention across the city for the long lines for kindergarten registration. In January the line started 24 hours before registration started.

Neither the school nor the SRC has commented on how the school, which has experienced overcrowding in its lower grades, will accommodate the new kindergarten class.

(h/t Amara Rockar, John Myers and West Philly News and Kristen Graham.)

19 Comments For This Post

  1. Lynn Major Says:

    Well, well, well…

    It sure would be fabulous if the SRC would see fit to add another Kindergarten class to overcrowded schools, such as Lea (which currently has only 2 K classes, one with over THIRTY kids)…
    I know – it all comes down to $$.

    Anyhow, I wonder how PAS plans to accommodate all of those extra kids beyond K?

  2. Charles Says:

    Acceding to the lobbying of Penn affiliates (and others) who spent $400K+ on houses in the PAS catchment = “improving local education”, a vital part of the Penn Compact…

  3. andy Says:

    money talks, bullshit walks

  4. Amara Says:

    Technically, I think the vote occurred after midnight making that Friday morning. I bring this up to point out that the SRC really needs to have more than one testimony/resolution meeting a month. It was excruciating to be shown a PowerPoint presentation at 10 p.m. (the meeting started at 5:30) with many members of the public still waiting to testify.

  5. Happy Curmudgeon Says:

    @Lynn–It’s not all about money, it’s also about perception.
    I guess those folks who support Muhammad are mad now too.

    Either way a big win for the rich people who don’t need public education.

  6. 46er Says:

    @Happy Curmudgeon – Do you even have kids yourself? Do you know how much it costs for sending kids to private school?

  7. goldenmonkey Says:

    Once again, there’s the ill-informed opinion that A. all those who live in the catchement are rich and B. those who live in the catchement are so fabulously rich that they can easily afford private education. I’m quite sure that those who proclaim this have never actually watched the parents or students gathering in the morning on afternoons, as one would realize how ludicrous these statements are. Believe it or not, not everyone who lives in the catchement owns his/her own home and not eveyone moved here in the last 10 years.

    Can we finally drop the classist charade?

  8. 46er Says:

    Even if you think these are rich people by comparing with what you make, these are rich people who believe in public schools. Still better than those rich people who send their kids to private schools.

  9. Happy Curmudgeon Says:

    @46er Sure I do. And yes I do. To send your kids to a school “on-par” with PSA is not expensive at all. Now if you want to go to a much better school you can pay 16k+ for Shipley and it goes up from there for Baldwin, etc.

    I don’t know what your point is, though. Sure those schools are expensive.
    Big deal. People do what they can and what they want.

    I tell you what won’t happen–the district or UPenn auditing the residences to see who actually lives in the catchment. Same thing that happens with CAPA is happening with PSA. Rich people purchase investment properties and claim residence or they just rent an apartment b/c it’s cheaper than private school. Right?

  10. Happy Curmudgeon Says:

    And no, I couldn’t stop to watch parents gather in the morning because I’m on my way to work my first job and can’t stick around to watch nights or weekends either for the same reasons.

  11. goldenmonkey Says:

    At least you admit you have no idea what you’re talking about.

  12. Jeff Says:

    Question: my wife and I are thinking about moving into the catchment but our kids would need to start PAS in first grade. Is that possible or are you screwed if you don’t start in the K year?

  13. Mike Lyons Says:

    @Jeff. It’s a good question. Last year people lined up for 1-8 registration as well. It’s hard to know if this will continue and the school always says that there are “no guarantees.” That’s not very helpful. I think the best advice is to be in contact with the school and think ahead about other options. Others here might have different thoughts.

  14. Jeff Says:

    @Mike. Thanks for the response. It’s hard to make a decision about moving to the catchment if there is no assurance we can go to the neighborhood school. We will try talking to the school but I doubt we will want to take the chance.

  15. emersonpickle Says:

    Most (if not all) of the better performing schools were told they would be adding classrooms/children to their schools around this time. Mostly likely this addition had NOTHING to do with community need, outreach or appeal it was a District wide strategy to help accommodate the highest preforming children from the schools that would be closing next year. Just saying, I know we like to pretend we have some power and our voices are being heard but really its probably just a coincidence.

  16. Anonymous Says:

    Emersonpickle, you are misinformed. The addition of a kindergarten class to PAS was funded by Penn and had nothing to do with the Great Schools Compact program. I’m not saying Penn did this in response to the community’s wishes but it is entirely separate from the other schools having additional seats.

  17. mds chill Says:

    Anyone know if the price disparity between in-catchment and out-of-catchment houses has decreased as a result of all the uncertainty this year?

  18. Jeff Says:

    We seriously looked at moving in the catchment in 2009. Now we are considering it again. I don’t have any hard data but it seems to me that prices are down significantly. I don’t know how much of that is the general housing market and how much is due o the school situation. All I can say is that it makes a big difference to us. I’m not about to pay a premium to be in the catchment if I don’t have assurance that my kids can go to the school. At this point, the greenfield catchment is looking more attractive even though the real estate is more expensive. Just my opinion.

  19. Keith Says:

    I’m betting that housing prices will take a huge nosedive over the prospect of property tax adjustments. It’s a pretty large incentive to shell out $300 or $400k+ for a house in need of major renovation in the PAS catchment, knowing your property tax bill will be $5k+ per year lower than what it ought to be, based on the market value of your home and the property taxes that would be charged on a home of comparable value in the ‘burbs or, god forbid, New Jersey.

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