Governor Corbett, the PA State Senate, the PA House of Representatives: Defeat House Bill 2459 and Reform Pennsylvania's Charter School Law
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Pennsylvania charter schools receive only a percentage (on average from 65-75%) of the funding enjoyed by the Commonwealth's traditional public schools.
Pennsylvania's Charter School Law, which was first enacted in 1997, established a system under which charter schools are encouraged to become "laboratories of innovation;" however, Pennsylvania's charter schools have always needed to meet these lofty expectations with less funding.
This is a reality that charter school teachers, parents, students and administrators have learned to accept, while remaining optimistic that the system would someday become more equitable.
However, funding to charter schools has slowly moved in the opposite direction. Each year, well-funded special interests launch attacks on our movement.
This fall, for example, the combined efforts of the PSEA (Pennsylvania's largest teachers union) and PSBA (Pennsylvania School Board's Association), crushed legislation which would have brought robust and even-handed reform to our state's charter school law.
The same special interests have worked very hard to provide school districts with new opportunities to retain even more of the already fractional funding headed for charter schools.
House Bill 2459, which will soon come before the PA legislature, represents the latest “stealth” attack on charter funding.
By further increasing the number deductions extended to school districts under the charter school law, this bill could cost charter schools tens of millions of dollars over the course of the next fiscal year. It could cripple public charter schools, and in some cases, make it virtually impossible for these schools to meet their students basic needs.
Therefore, we, the parents, teachers, administrators, and students of Pennsylvania's 173 charter schools, appeal to you, our elected officials, to stop House Bill 2459 and any other legislation which seeks to whittle away at charter school funding.
Issues related to the funding of our state's charter schools need to be placed within the larger context of comprehensive charter school reform.
Supporters of public school choice understand the necessity of even-handed reform and are eager to participate in discussions relating to these issues.
Therefore, we appeal to you to support legislation which would resurrect this critically important process.
Ultimately, real reform of the laws pertaining to Pennsylvania's public charter schools may not please the special interests but it will serve the interests of a more important constituency, Pennsylvania's children!
Today: Avon Grove Charter School is counting on you
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