Today, the State House of Representatives passed House Bill 97 in an effort to reform charter schools in Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, HB 97 falls short in addressing issues with charter schools related to academic performance, accountability, transparency and funding that are so critically needed.
School directors are concerned with the many ways HB 97 misses the mark of substantial reform, including adding more members to the Charter School Appeal Board and tipping control to charter schools; expanding charter renewals to 10 years; and establishing a Charter Funding Commission that lacks the proper focus and direction.
“The charter school law is now 20 years old and showing signs of its age,” said PSBA Executive Director Nathan Mains. “It's time to stop the financial hemorrhaging charters are causing in school funding. In our recent State of Education report, charter funding was the second most mentioned budgetary concern among districts. Why do we refuse to listen to those who know best about the impact charters have on public education?”
Charters are a part of the public education landscape, but true transparency and accountability are needed. HB 97 does not address these issues fully. We look forward to working with the State Senate to amend HB 97 into a piece of legislation that works for all involved.