PA House GOP Website 4/25/2017
HARRISBURG – A bill authored by Rep. Mike Reese (R-Westmoreland/Somerset) aimed at improving charter and cyber charter education in Pennsylvania was passed by the House on Tuesday. Reese said House Bill 97 meets two important objectives by strengthening school choice but also improving the formula used to fund charter and cyber charter education.
“It was groundbreaking when Pennsylvania established a charter education system 20 years ago, but the law has grown to be somewhat outdated,” Reese said. “This legislation strengthens the fiscal, transparency and academic aspects of charter school operations and will create more of a level playing field in comparison to traditional public schools.”
The bill proposes that charter schools use an academic performance matrix and that teacher evaluations be performed, which is similar to traditional public schools. It also aims to increase enforcement of current truancy laws. Charter schools meeting these objectives will be eligible for longer charter periods. Also included is language to improve public transparency and auditing requirements.
House Bill 97 also addresses a long-standing problem with the cyber charter funding formula by expanding the deductions that school districts use when calculating their per-pupil expenses paid to cyber charter schools. The deductions are estimated to save public school districts roughly $27 million annually.
The legislation calls for a Charter School Funding Advisory Commission to be assembled and work toward identifying further corrections. The commission will include members of the Pennsylvania House and Senate and various education professionals with equal representation from both charter entities and school districts.
Reese explained that revising cyber education funding is imperative. “There are several flaws in the way we fund cyber charter schools and every day these flaws go unaddressed an unnecessary burden is placed on traditional public schools and taxpayers in general,” Reese added.
The bill, which passed with a bipartisan vote of 108-84, will now be considered by the Senate. During the 2015-16 legislative session, a similar bill was approved by bipartisan votes in the House and Senate but a final version was not advanced before the session expired.
House Bill 97 continues a financial incentive for charters to underserve severely disabled children.
Supporters of the bill say it mandates greater financial disclosure, increases transparency and strengthens accountability for charter-school operators. But according to Moon, HB 97 would create a system for evaluating students, teachers and administrators at charters that would be separate from the system used in other public schools. "We see this as a big problem because it would prevent families from accurately comparing the school options that are available for their students if there are two different systems," she added. She says the law also doesn't fix provisions that allow charters to exclude most students with serious disabilities, leaving it up to the regular public schools to provide for their needs. She says vague language in the bill appears to allow charters to expand into multiple buildings without district approval. "It deprives the local school board of capping enrollment for charter schools that are not equitably serving all students in the district or providing a quality education," she said. The Education Law Center says a responsible charter-school law would empower local districts to strategically control charter-school growth as a means to increase options and improve educational outcomes.
Diane Ravitch’s Blog By dianeravitch April 25, 2017 //
In a year where an unusually high number of charter schools face review, the School District of Philadelphia released renewal recommendations for 21 schools late Monday. Of those 21, the district's charter school office recommended a standard five-year renewal for 20 schools. But officials recommended that the School Reform Commission not renew Laboratory Charter School of Communication and Languages, which serves 637 children in three locations — Overbrook, Wynnfield, and Northern Liberties. The charter school office found strong academic performance at Laboratory Charter, but cited financial and organizational concerns in its report. A recommendation of non-renewal is typically the first step in closing a charter school. If the SRC follows through on that recommendation and votes not to renew Laboratory Charter, the school can appeal to a state review board.
PA Independent Fiscal Office April 25, 2017 | Presentations
WILLIAMSPORT Friday May 5th 12:00-1:30pm
YORK Thursday May 11th 12:00-1:30pm
WILKES-BARRE Friday May 12th 12:00-1:30pm
LEHIGH VALLEY Friday May 19th 12:00-1:30pm
Diane Ravitch’s Blog By dianeravitch April 25, 2017 //
I am delighted to share with you that Helen Gym won the Emily’s List “Rising Star” contest.
- Monday, May 1, 6-8 p.m. — Parkway West CTC, 7101 Steubenville Pike, Oakdale, PA 15071
- Tuesday, May 2, 7:30-9 a.m. — A W Beattie Career Center, 9600 Babcock Blvd, Allison Park, PA 15101
- Tuesday, May 2, 6-8 p.m. — Crawford County CTC, 860 Thurston Road, Meadville, PA 16335
- Wednesday, May 3, 6-8 p.m. — St. Marys Area School District, 977 S. St Marys Road, Saint Marys, PA 15857
- Thursday, May 4, 6-8 p.m. — Central Montco Technical High School, 821 Plymouth Road, Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462
- Friday, May 5, 7:30-9 a.m. — Lehigh Carbon Community College, 4525 Education Park Dr, Schnecksville, PA 18078
- Monday, May 15, 6-8 p.m. — CTC of Lackawanna Co., 3201 Rockwell Avenue, Scranton, PA 18508
- Tuesday, May 16, 6-8 p.m. — PSBA, 400 Bent Creek Boulevard, Mechanicsburg, PA 17050
- Wednesday, May 17, 6-8 p.m. — Lycoming CTC, 293 Cemetery Street, Hughesville, PA 17737
- Thursday, May 18, 6-8 p.m. — Chestnut Ridge SD, 3281 Valley Road, Fishertown, PA 15539
Thomas Murray, Director of Innovation for Future Ready Schools, a project of the Alliance for Excellent Education
Kristen Swanson, Director of Learning at Slack and one of the founding members of the Edcamp movement
*Leadership for Learning
*Professional and Community Leadership