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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: June 15, 2018 12:39 PM
From: Representative Bernie O'Neill and Rep. Stephen McCarter
To: All House members
Subject: Charter School Tuition Calculations
We are introducing this legislation which will address the Charter School Tuition Calculation issue that was a result of a recent decision of the Commonwealth Court.

As a result of litigation involving charter schools in the School District of Philadelphia, known as First Philadelphia Preparatory Charter School vs. School District of Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) issued a statement in March 2018 that it was rescinding entirely its guidance on calculating charter school tuition (Guidelines), including the PDE-363 calculation form that had been used since the early years of the Charter School Law and that PDE would no longer calculate tuition rates based on expenditure and enrollment data, and that districts should instead calculate their own rates based on the language of the Charter School Law.

Since PDE rescinded the Guidelines, the entire charter tuition calculation process and expectations has been unclear. Since this time, several organizations have been working to develop a solution and to ensure charter schools receive their funding that is statutorily owed to them.
In order to ensure, moving forward, that the process for calculating tuition rates for charter school students is clear and uniform, we are proposing legislation that will amend the Charter School Law to remedy many of the concerns addressed in the litigation, including:
  • Calculating school district charter school tuition rates based on the actual school district expenditures rather than the budgeted expenditures districts forecast at the outset of the year;
  • Excluding the federally funded portion of a number of budget categories from charter school tuition calculation;
  • Requiring PDE to calculate and post the charter school tuition rates and imposing a deadline;
  • Clarifying charter payment procedures and deadlines including the payment dispute process and responsibilities and imposing possible penalties for frivolous conduct by either party.
The goal of this legislation is to provide a fair process for calculating charter tuition payments in order to ensure that (1) public charter school students are protected, (2) the best interest of taxpayers is considered and that (3) charter schools receive funding that is fair and predictable so that they can provide students with high-quality education programs and services without interruption.

If you have any questions on this legislation, please contact Erin Dixon, House Education Committee, at 717-787-7044 or by e-mailing edixon@pahouse.net

Thank you for your consideration and support of this very important piece of legislation.

Introduced as HB2553