ICYMI: Gov. Wolf Proposes Plan to Fix Broken Charter School Law, Protect Students and Taxpayers

March 03, 2021

Last week, Governor Tom Wolf announced his plan to fix Pennsylvania’s broken charter school law, which fails to hold charter schools accountable for education quality or sky-rocketing costs.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers agrees that now is the time to act to fix our charter school law, and unveiled legislation to hold charter schools accountable while protecting school choice and ensuring students get the quality education they deserve.

Take a look at the coverage below:

Inquirer: Wolf revives push to change charter school funding

“Gov. Tom Wolf on Friday revived his push to overhaul how Pennsylvania regulates and funds charter schools, calling for measures that would send less money from school districts to support enrollment in the independently run schools.

“The governor endorsed legislation introduced Friday by Democratic lawmakers that aligns with a proposal he backed more than a year ago aimed at curbing payments to cyber charters and changing how charters are funded for special education students.”

PennLive: Pa. Gov. Tom Wolf says, ‘It’s time to fix our charter school law’; critics oppose plan to cut aid

“Wolf acknowledged that there are some charter schools doing an outstanding job of putting students on a path for success. But he added, “the way the law is set up we can’t guarantee that every charter school is actually giving every student the education we need that student to get.”

“Plus, he said it allows many charter schools to overcharge taxpayers too much to educate students.

“’It’s time to fix our charter school law,’ he said. ‘I hope to see a bill with concrete sustainable changes to the charter school law come to my desk this year.’”

Post-Gazette: Gov. Wolf proposes major charter school funding reforms that could save districts millions

“Charter school law reform is part of Mr. Wolf’s 2021 legislative agenda that also has several other major education proposals, including investing $1.3 billion in public schools through tax increases and revising the state’s existing funding formula.

“The governor said his charter school law reform would save Pennsylvania school districts an estimated $229 million a year that could be reinvested into students and educators. The proposals, the governor’s office said, would promote innovation and choice in the charter sector while holding charter schools accountable for their academic performance and financial management.”

Beaver County Times: Gov. Tom Wolf proposes charter school reforms to save $229 million a year

“Wolf’s office said $2.1 billion was directed to charter schools last year, including $600 billion to cyber schools, and that number is expected to grow to $2.5 billion this year.

“During the press conference, Wolf said charter schools are funded with public dollars and the money lost to them by school districts has forced school boards to regularly raise property taxes on residents.

“’The current charter school funding formula is unfair,’ Wolf said.”

Reading Eagle: Gov. Tom Wolf pushes charter school reform law

“Wolf said there are a number of charter schools that are performing poorly, particularly cybercharters, which are some of the worst performing in the state.

“At the same time, Wolf said, the costs of charter schools are rising. And because they’re funding through tax dollars — students’ tuitions are paid for by their home school districts — that is putting more and more pressure on taxpayers.

“So, Wolf is trying to do something about that. He is backing legislation that changes how charter schools are funded and create increased transparency and accountability.

“’It’s time to fix our charter schools. It’s time to reform our charter school law,’ he said. ‘That’s going to help us build a better Pennsylvania. That’s going to help us build a better education system.’”


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