PSBA believes that the state must enact comprehensive reforms to address areas of charter school operations, accountability and funding. This page addresses a variety of bills addressing charter reform issues.

Charter funding reform: Tell your legislators we need funding reform

Each year, school districts spend millions of dollars in taxpayer money in mandatory payments to brick-and-mortar and cyber charter schools. Join PSBA’s efforts to change the existing flawed charter school funding formulas for regular and special education.

Calling all school boards to adopt the resolution!  Please print out the resolution and adopt it at your next board meeting. Once it is adopted and signed, please send a copy to your legislators and upload a copy to PSBA using the form below. We will add your district to the list of boards that have adopted the resolution.

Send a letter to your legislators! Click the Take Action button to send a letter to your members of the Senate and House of Representatives asking for charter funding reform.

 

Governor’s charter reform proposal

On February 4, 2020, Gov. Wolf highlighted the need for charter reform as part of his 2020-21 state budget plan. The spending plan includes $280 million coming from projected savings gained from proposed charter school funding reforms. In conjunction with the call for charter funding reforms, the governor’s office announced that legislation to enact comprehensive changes is being introduced in the Senate and House of Representatives.

In the same way that PSBA worked with the Senate and House of Representatives on their charter proposals, the association is pleased to be working very closely with the Governor to develop his plan to achieve significant charter reforms.

Details on the governor’s charter reform proposal

Charter legislation in the 2019-20 session

House charter package: House Bills 355, 356, 357,358

A four-bill package passed by the House last spring addresses various charter school issues. Two of the bills contain significant concerns; although PSBA was successful in obtaining some positive changes, concerns remain. Read PSBA’s June 14 Legislative report for details.

  • Charter applications/amendments: House Bill 357 (Rep. Topper, R-Bedford) revises the process used to apply to open a charter school, amend an existing written charter, and the admission and enrollment of students in a charter school.
  • Charter school expansion: House Bill 356 (Rep. Dowling, R-Fayette) gives charter schools the right of first refusal to purchase or lease school buildings “no longer in use” by a school district. It also allows a charter school to operate at more than one location so long as the charter school’s written charter does not limit enrollment.
  • Governance, ethics, dual enrollment: House Bill 355 (Rep. Reese, R-Westmoreland) addresses governance and ethics requirements and House Bill 358 (Rep. Marshall, R-Beaver) addresses dual enrollment issues.

Cyber charter funding reform: Senate Bill 34, House Bill 526

PSBA supports Senate Bill 34 (Sen. Schwank (D-Berks) and House Bill 526 (Rep. Sonney (R- Erie), which would require parents to pay for their child’s education in a cyber charter school if the school district of residence offers its own full-time cyber education program.

School district cyber education programs: House Bill 1897

House Bill 1897 (Rep. Sonney, R-Erie) requires all districts to provide one full-time cyber education program and offer two alternative programs from third-party vendors. Existing cyber charter schools would be required to cease operations but could serve as third-party vendors. PSBA believes the bill is a unique approach to address cyber charter reform, but has also raised concerns with the plan.