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Pa. Treasury holds up payment to charter schools amid stalemate

Written by The Associated Press | Oct 21, 2015 5:35 PM
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(Harrisburg) -- The Pennsylvania Treasury Department says it won't make any payments to charter schools using dollars that are normally sent directly to public school districts. 

Treasury spokesman Scott Sloat said Wednesday that the agency wants to review the legality of the diversions. Also Wednesday, the Pennsylvania School Boards Association sued to ensure the money is sent to school districts, insisting that it's illegal to divert the cash to charter schools.

The dispute comes amid a four-month-old stalemate that's held up billions in state aid to public schools.

Gov. Tom Wolf's administration says state law requires the diversions since some school districts have cut off monthly payments to charter schools.

A spokesman says the administration is still determining the appropriate amounts to divert.

The money comes from a tax on slot-machine gambling.

An earlier story is below:

The Pennsylvania Treasury Department is withholding payments to charter schools that are normally sent directly to public school districts. 

Treasury spokesman Scott Sloat said Wednesday that the agency wants to review the legality of the diversions.

Also Wednesday, the Pennsylvania School Boards Association sued to block the diversions, insisting that it's illegal.

Senate Democrats also asked the Treasury to block the payments until the legal issues are settled.

The dispute comes amid a four-month-old stalemate that's held up billions in state aid to public schools. 

The diversion was originally requested by Gov. Tom Wolf's administration, which says state law requires it since some school districts have cut off monthly payments to charter schools.

The money comes from a tax on slot-machine gambling that was designed to lower school property tax bills.

The original story is below:

Democratic lawmakers are asking the Pennsylvania Treasury to block Gov. Tom Wolf's attempt to divert money from public schools to pay charter schools amid an entrenched state budget stalemate.

Eighteen of 19 Senate Democrats wrote Wednesday to the Treasury Department. The Pennsylvania School Boards Association insisted last week that the diversion is illegal.

A Treasury spokesman declined comment.

Senate Democrats say they want any legal issues resolved before the money is paid. The money comes from a tax on slot-machine gambling that was designed to lower school property tax bills. It's typically paid directly to school districts.

Administration officials say state law requires the diversion since some charter schools have seen school districts cut off their monthly payments amid a four-month-old stalemate that's cut off billions in aid to public schools.

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