Prime Sponsor: Sen. Patrick Browne (R -Lehigh)
Status: Senate Bill 590 was introduced and referred to the Senate Education Committee on May 1, 2019.
Summary: Senate Bill 590 amend the School Code by adding a new Section 1704-A titled Charter School Funding Advisory Commission.
The Charter School Advisory Commission is established to review and make recommendations concerning charter and cyber charter school funding. The commission will examine all current laws, regulations and executive policy statements which determine funding for charter and cyber charter schools and issue a report with its findings and recommendations, no later than 18 months from the effective date of the legislation.
Composition of the commission: The 13-member commission will include:
- The secretary of education
- One member appointed by the President pro tempore of the Senate
- One member appointed by the Minority Leader of the Senate
- One member appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives
- One member appointed by the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives
- The chairperson and minority chairperson of the Senate Appropriations Committee
- The chairperson and minority chairperson of the House Appropriations Committee
- The chairperson and minority chairperson of the Senate Education Committee
- The chairperson and minority chairperson of the House Education Committee
All appointments would be made within 30 days of the effective date of the act, and the first meeting be held within 60 days. The commission would elect two commission chairpersons, one from the Senate and one from the House of Representatives.
Meetings of the commission: The commission shall hold meetings at the call of the chairpersons. It will conduct six public hearings or more on the matters to be considered by the commission. Seven members of the commission would constitute a quorum at any meeting. The commission members will receive no compensation for their services but shall be reimbursed for all necessary travel and other reasonable expenses incurred in connection with the performance of their duties as members.
Powers and duties:
(1) To meet with current charter school entity operators and personnel, school district personnel and other representatives of public education.
(2) To review charter school financing laws throughout the United States.
(3) To assess the actual cost of educating a child in a charter school, a regional charter school, a cyber charter school and a school district or intermediate unit utilizing cyber classes.
(4) To evaluate and make recommendations on the following:
(i) The process by which charter schools, regional charter schools and cyber charter schools are funded.
(ii) Appropriate funding for charter school, regional charter school and cyber charter school operations.
(iii) Appropriate funding for charter school, regional charter school and cyber charter school facilities and management.
(iv) Appropriate funding for regular and special education transportation.
(v) Other funding issues raised in the course of public hearings.
(vi) Consideration of a school district deduction for programs and services to the extent that they are funded from the proceeds of competitive grants from private or public resources or from contributions or donations from private sources.
(vii) The appropriate manner of funding a charter school that primarily serves adjudicated youth.
(viii) Appropriate funding for athletic programs and extra-curricular activities offered to a student enrolled in a charter school, regional charter school or cyber charter school.
(ix) Appropriate funding for charter school, regional charter school and cyber charter school special education programs.
Final report: The commission’s final report and recommendations would be due no later than 18 months from the effective date of the act. The report will be sent to the governor and General Assembly. The recommendations of the commission will not go into effect, however, without legislation being introduced and approved by the General Assembly and signed by the governor.