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No Final Vote on Charter School Reform, Delco Superintendents React

The Senate approved the bill last Tuesday but no final vote was taken by House of Representatives.

Charter School Reform legislation, the hot topic for school districts across the commonwealth, was brought forward by Pennsylvania lawmakers once more last week. 

The Senate approved the bill, SB 1115, 33-19, last Tuesday, but the House of Representatives were unable to make a decision the following day, according to The Patriot News.

Last week's vote was crucial, considering neither the Senate or the House would meet to vote on any bills before the Nov. 6 election. In addition, lawmakers do not plan to vote on any bills in the post-election period that ends Nov. 30, according to the Delaware County Daily Times.

The Delaware County Daily Times reports, "The Senate approved the measure to toughen oversight of the publicly funded, privately run schools on Tuesday, but House Speaker Sam Smith, a Republican, said after adjournment there had not been enough time to deal with the complicated bill, and funding was a sticking point."

William Keilbaugh, Delaware County superintendents chairman and Haverford School District superintendent, shared the extra time brought by the House's decision to table the vote on charter school reform is a positive thing.

Keilbaugh stated, on behalf of Delaware County superintendents:

"We feel good that the process is slowed down. The additional time creates an opportunity for thoughtful consideration of the implications of any charter school reform. This allows taxpayers and legislators to clearly understand the ramifications of the policy changes. We want what is in the best interest of the students in our districts."

Delaware County superintendents urged lawmakers to readdress the bill with a list of considerations before making a final vote on SB 1115.

Last week's vote would have seen amendments to the historic bill, created in 1949, and address the following: 

"...in preliminary provisions, establishing the Special Education Funding Commission; and imposing duties on the Department of Education; in duties and powers of boards of school directors, further providing for elementary schools; in terms and courses of study, further providing for agreements with institutions of higher education; in opportunities for educational excellence, further providing for definitions and for concurrent enrollment agreements; extensively revising charter school provisions; in reimbursements by the Commonwealth and between school districts, further providing for definitions; and providing for the distribution of special education funding for student achievement and instruction of eligible students and for special education accountability."

 

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