From Our good friends at Education Voters of PA!
Last week Republican members of the House Education Committee advanced two charter school expansion bills that deliver the charter school industry’s wish list. We anticipate that the House will vote on these bills in early June.
Click HERE to send a letter to your state representative telling him/her to oppose the charter school expansion bills.
By a party-line vote of 14 to 10, committee members passed House Bills 356 and 357. These bills strip communities of the ability to plan and exercise appropriate fiscal and academic oversight over their public education systems. These bills also weaken accountability, allow for the unfettered expansion of even the lowest performing charter schools, and fail to protect taxpayers and students from failing schools.
The House Education Committee also advanced HB 355 and HB 358 during their meeting. These bills are fine. HB 355 makes small changes to the law to bring charter school accountability and transparency a little closer to the level of school districts. HB 358 allows students in charter schools to participate in dual enrollment with postsecondary institutions.
What was NOT acceptable was Republican lawmakers’ opposition to amendments to these bills that would have enacted significant, meaningful, and much-needed real reforms to the charter school law.
Along party lines, 14 committee members voted against Amendment A01297 to HB 355, which was offered by Rep. Steve McCarter. This amendment proposed to protect taxpayers by limiting the overhead of charter management organizations to 5% and subjecting contractors to public audits and to Pennsylvania’s Right to Know law.
House Education Committee members also voted along party lines to reject amendment A01298 to HB 3055. This was offered by Rep. James Roebuck and proposed to close a widely-acknowledged loophole that allows the same people who own and operate charter schools to create separate legal entities to collect taxpayer-funded lease reimbursements—for the buildings they already own.
Also unacceptable, House Education Committee members are ignoring pleas from their constituents for meaningful cyber charter school funding reform that will eliminate wasteful spending, save taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars, reduce pressure on property taxes, and help get critically needed resources into our children’s schools.
Please take a minute to tell your state representative to oppose the charter school expansion bills.
If lawmakers don’t hear from their constituents, they will continue to advance the interests of the charter school industry at the expense of the taxpayers and children they were elected to represent.
Thank you for your continued support of public education (and please contact your state representative)!
BASD Proud Parents is strictly pro-public education. We are an independent group with no affiliations to the BASD school board or any political parties. Our goals are to help parents stay informed about educational policy discussions and to facilitate ways for any of us who would like the chance to have our voices heard, to get more involved in those policy conversations.