Superintendents from Delaware County, including Superintendent Merle Horowitz of the Marple Newtown School District, have written a letter to Pennsylvania lawmakers about their concerns of charter school reform.
The General Assembly will be revisiting the topic of charter school reform and may be voting to pass legislation SB 1115 this week.
Horowitz is among 16 superintendents from all the public school districts of Delaware County as well as the Delaware County Intermediate Unit to vocalize changes that must be made to charter school reform legislation. Those changes urged include:
- Reinstate the minimal charter school reimbursement (30 percent) to school districts.
- Limit unassigned fund balances for charter and cyber charter schools, consistent with the limits already in effect for traditional public schools.
- Remove the "double dip" for pension costs by charter and cyber charter schools.
- Limit the amount of special education funding that a charter or cyber charter school receives per student to the school district's total per-pupil spending for special education services.
- Require year-end audits by the state Department of Education to determine the actual costs of education services of charter and cyber charter schools, followed by an annual year-end final reconciliation process of tuition payments from school districts against those actual costs. Any overpayments would be returned to the school districts.
- Include charter schools under the same Right to Know requirements as all other public entities in Pennsylvania.
- Increase transparency for contractors that provide management, educational or administrative services to charter and cyber charter schools by requiring disclosure of a financial relationship with for-profit providers.
- Oppose any mechanism that would create a statewide authorizer for new charter schools.
- Include a higher percentage of members that represent traditional public schools on the 17-member proposed commission on charter school funding in SB-1115.
- Oppose any Direct Pay provisions.
- Oppose any Parent Trigger Conversion.
- Oppose any attempt to change AYP calculations for charter schools.
Read the PDF of the entire letter written by the Delaware County superintendents in the photo gallery to the right.