State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

House takes another crack at charter schools

Written by Katie Meyer, Capitol Bureau Chief | Apr 21, 2017 5:02 AM

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Students at a Philadelphia charter school. (Photo by AP)

(Harrisburg) -- The state legislature is returning to one of its toughest recurring issues--charter school reform.

Among the provisions laid out in the latest omnibus proposal to get onto the House floor are a standardized application process for schools seeking charters, more consistent school performance rubrics, and an extension of the charter review period from five to ten years.

As often happens, public school and charter school advocates are divided on it.

Ana Meyers, executive director for the state Coalition for Public Charter Schools, said the proposal needs work. In particular, she opposes a $27 million funding cut for online-only charters.

However, she said likes most of it, noting that she backs anything that makes charters more competitive.

"Charter schools and cyber charter schools are run differently than traditional public schools for a reason," she said.

Steve Robinson, with the Pennsylvania School Board Association, said he's concerned the reforms give charters too much of a leg up.

"Traditional public schools are set to a much higher standard than we believe charter schools are," he said."

The measure has passed committee and is now working its way through the House.

It's sponsored by Republican Mike Reese, of Westmoreland County, and is similar to another bill he sponsored that failed last session.

Published in News, State House Sound Bites

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