HARRISBURG PA – A major charter school reform package that would include funding changes and additional academic accountability is widely viewed as a top priority for Republicans in Pennsylvania’s Legislature during the fall session that began Monday (Sept. 24, 2012), The Pennsylvania Independent online news service reported.
That’s welcome news in the Pottsgrove, Spring-Ford Area and Pottstown school districts, and others across the state, which have incurred higher expenses in recent years as they paid tuition for students who live within their borders but attend chartered institutions. Administrators and school boards alike complain their operations are held to standards higher than those of the charters, and unfairly lose revenue because of them.
Movement on the package has been slow, though, The Independent said. It quoted a top House GOP leader who said little has been accomplished since the proposal almost became law in late June.
On the final day of the spring legislative session, both chambers of the General Assembly approved charter school bills with the same basics: a new statewide performance matrix for charters, a requirement that all charters audit their books annually and limitations on how much the schools could hold in reserve bank accounts. But legislators were unable to reconcile minor differences, and “punted to the fall,” according to The Independent.
Meetings apparently took place during the summer, but those involved declined to comment on any progress made. One of the major hang-ups in the spring dealt with the creation of an independent statewide authorization authority for charter schools in Pennsylvania.
- Read a story by reporter Eric Boehm, titled “State Rep: No movement on charter school bills over summer,” and published Monday by The Independent, here.
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