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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: July 12, 2016 09:43 AM
From: Representative Tonyelle Cook-Artis
To: All House members
Subject: Rep. Tonyelle Cook-Artis Charter School Reform Legislation
In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation that would make a number of much-needed changes to the Charter School Law within the Public School Code. Though some legislation has been introduced to address these changes individually, my legislation would amend and add several sections within the Public School Code simultaneously to provide for more comprehensive reform. These changes include:
  • Amend Section 1722-A to insert language requiring PDE to review and approve all charter school lease agreements;
  • Amend Section 1724-A to increase the teacher certification rate from 75 percent to require all teachers be certified, based on SB 320;
  • Amend Section 1728 to require annual, independent audits based on language used in HB 1328;
  • Create a new section providing for an authorizer fee of 0.5 percent; and
  • Create new sections setting fund balance limits for cyber charter schools and charter schools equal to traditional public schools, based on SB 832.
  • Upon the recommendations from the Office of Open Records, language was added to include compliance with the Right-to-Know law in annual reports and assessments from charter schools. Additionally, upon the recommendations of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, provisions were added to:
  • void a charter upon the third denial of a proposed lease by the Department of Education;
  • include an educational management organization in the charter audit process; and
  • review of the financial statements of any charter foundation, which shall be consolidated and broken out by affiliates.
The purpose of this legislation is to provide updates to the Charter School Law in order to increase transparency, hold charter schools to the same levels of financial accountability as public schools, generate funds for charter authorizers, and increase certification rates for teachers in charter schools.

Please join me in co-sponsoring this important legislation.

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Introduced as HB2281