Charter and Cyber Charter Reforms Measure Heads to Senate
3/4/2015
HARRISBURG – More than $27 million annually will be saved by Pennsylvania school districts if House Bill 530, which passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 118-78, becomes law, Speaker of the House Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny County) said today.
 
Authored by Rep. Mike Reese (R-Westmoreland/Somerset), the bill amends the state Public School Code to extensively revise and add charter school provisions. The legislation contains major reforms dealing with funding, ethics, accountability, governance and academic quality.
 
“This legislation brings fair and responsible changes to charter and cyber charter school funding and strengthens provisions regulating the brick and mortar charter and cyber charter schools while preserving parental options for our Commonwealth’s students,” Turzai said. “Brick and mortar charter schools, in particular, offer good and safe educational options for parents and kids in lower performing schools, and these reforms will strengthen accountability and parental choice.”
 
House Bill 530 would create a Charter School Funding Advisory Commission to look at issues related to charter and cyber charter schools, including the development of a fair funding formula based on actual costs of educating a child in cyber charter schools.
 
The legislation would create an Academic Performance Matrix, to be developed by the Pennsylvania State Board of Education, to assess academic quality for Pennsylvania’s charter and cyber charter schools. The matrix would measure and assess the academic performance of the schools, and high-performing schools would be granted 10-year renewal terms. The legislation would also require all initial and renewal charter and cyber charter school applicants to include a teacher evaluation system.
 
School districts will be aided by changes in the funding formula for cyber charter schools. House Bill 530 will allow school districts to deduct food service costs and cyber education expenses from the previous year from their per-pupil expense paid to cyber charter schools. Combined, the deductions are estimated to save public school districts $27 million annually.
 
The legislation calls for a Charter School Funding Advisory Commission to be assembled and work toward identifying further reforms to the formula. The commission will include members of the Pennsylvania House and Senate and various education professionals with equal representation from both charter entities and school districts.
 
According to Turzai, cyber charter education funding has become a significant expense for local school districts.
 
The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.
 
Representative Mike Turzai
The Speaker
28th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Stephen Miskin
717.772.9943 (office), 717.756.3936 (cell)
smiskin@pahousegop.com
RepTurzai.com / facebook.com/RepTurzai / @Repturzai 
 
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