Reforms to Pennsylvania’s old charter school law this week

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Governor Tom Wolf announced a number of reforms to Pennsylvania’s 22-year old charter school law this week.

​Last year, the Governor says Pennsylvania’s charter schools received more than $1.8 billion in state and property taxes.​​

The Governor is proposing executive action that would do things like allow school districts to lower enrollment at some charter schools, and to hold them to the same transparency standards as school districts.

​​He’s also proposing legislation to establish performance standards and a moratorium on new charter schools in the state.​​

“We must update our flawed and outdated charter law for the benefit of every student and every taxpayer in the Commonwealth,” said Wolf. “I want Pennsylvania to be known for having a good charter school law. One that emphasizes quality, accountability, transparency, fairness, and fiscal responsibility.”​​

Others argue that some of the reforms eliminate school choice from parents and students. They say there are thousands of students in Pennsylvania on waiting lists to attend charter schools, and these reforms could hurt their ability to attend the schools they choose to go to.

​​”It seems like Governor Wolf is putting up a wall to prevent families from leaving district schools to choose charter schools,” said Nathan Benefield, Vice President & COO of the Commonwealth Foundation. “It really is trying to put limits on students’ ability to go to charter schools. Capping enrollment, putting a moratorium on new schools, even cutting funding. It really is trying to take away that choice.”

​​More than 130,000 students in Pennsylvania currently attend charter schools.​

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