School Funding

80% of Pennsylvania school districts call for charter reform


Leaders of more than 400 school districts across Pennsylvania, representing more than 80% of Commonwealth school districts, called on the General Assembly to pass common sense reforms to the broken and obsolete Commonwealth Charter Schools Act . These changes would hold charter schools accountable for both the quality and cost of the education they provide, while saving school districts and taxpayers nearly $ 400 million annually.

“Thank you to educators and school board members across Pennsylvania for drawing attention to the ways charter school reform will help your communities,” Governor Wolf said. “My bipartisan reform plan will improve the quality of education for students, lower costs for schools and taxpayers, and ensure accountability to the public – while providing charters with the resources they need to deliver education.” of high quality to their students.

The governor’s proposal would save school districts about $ 395 million per year by better aligning charter school funding with actual costs. The savings include $ 185 million by funding special education in charter schools the same way the state does for all other public schools and $ 210 million per year by establishing an e-school tuition rate. statewide chartered.

The skyrocketing cost of charter schools is draining funding for traditional public schools and forcing school districts to cut education programs and increase ownership increases. At the same time, many charter schools are underperforming.

Many charter cyber schools graduate less than two-thirds of their students, and Pennsylvania’s 14 cyber schools are designated for federal school improvement, with the vast majority among the lowest 5% of public schools. A 2019 Stanford University report found overwhelmingly negative results from Pennsylvania’s cyber schools and called for the state for reform.

In addition to saving nearly $ 400 million a year, Governor Wolf’s common sense, bipartisan reform plan:

  • Creates performance standards for charter schools that hold low performing charter schools accountable and reward high performing charters with more flexibility.
  • Limit enrollment in cyber schools until their educational quality improves.
  • Demands that charter schools have policies to prevent nepotism and conflicts of interest so that leaders do not use charter schools for their own financial gain.
  • Ensures charter schools and their leaders meet state ethics commission requirements as they are public servants.

“It’s an issue that affects all school districts in the Commonwealth, and over 80 percent of school boards have come together to call for change,” Governor Wolf said. “It is high time to listen to our schools and correct our charter schools law. These common sense solutions will protect taxpayers, students and public trust, while improving accountability and the quality of education.

A video of the governor thanking school districts for their commitment to improving the accountability of charter schools is here.


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