Governor proposes charter school reform

Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf says he has a three-part plan to fix Pennsylvania’s charter school law that will save school districts nearly $280 million a year.

The governor outlined his plan Friday to the Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators. He said his plan will hold charter schools accountable so parents and students have a high-quality option that prepares students for success and protects taxpayers.

Wolf said taxpayers spent $1.8 billion on charter schools last year, including more than $500 million on cyber schools. He said the rising cost of charter schools is draining funding from traditional public schools, which has forced cuts to classroom programs and property tax increases.

“Every student deserves a great education, whether in a traditional public school or a charter school, but the state’s flawed and outdated charter school law is failing children, parents, and taxpayers,” Wolf said. “Pennsylvania has a history of school choice, which I support, but there is widespread agreement that we must change the law to prioritize quality and align funding to actual costs.”

The governor said his proposal would better align charter school funding to actual costs. His plan caps online cyber school tuition payments and applies the special education funding formula to charter schools, as it does for traditional public schools.

There are nearly 200 charter schools in Pennsylvania. Wolf says the state’s current charter school law is among the worst in the country.

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