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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: April 13, 2016 04:52 PM
From: Senator Vincent J. Hughes
To: All Senate members
Subject: Charter School Law Reform
Pennsylvania school districts are currently spending more than $1.4 billion in public funds on tuition reimbursements to charter schools. Yet, local school boards are limited by law in the necessary oversight they can provide for the charter schools in their districts.

Building off the recent audit by the Auditor General of Philadelphia’s charter schools, in the near future, I plan on introducing a bill that would provide local school boards with the tools to better oversee the taxpayer-funded charter schools in their school districts.

My proposal will make four necessary changes to the charter school law. In addition to my proposals below, I stand ready to work with any member who has ideas on how best to reform the Commonwealth’s charter school law.

1) Allow a local school board to consider financial impact as part of the charter school authorization process.

2) Allow a local school board to set student enrollment targets at any time during a charter school’s existence.

3) Limit the state Charter Appeal Board’s role solely to affirming the local school board’s decision related to a charter authorization or renewal.

4) Reform the state’s broken charter school special education funding system by aligning the funding to the three cost category system used by school districts, which provides funding based on student needs. This would fully enact the recommendations of the Special Education Funding Commission.

I hope that you will join me in providing local school districts these necessary accountability tools.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact Michael Deery or Brett Schaeffer in my office.

Introduced as SB1256