Pa. Charter Reform Bill Advances, Draws Criticism

CBS Philly

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A bill to overhaul Pennsylvania’s charter school law would gut local control of the alternative schools by eliminating enrollment caps and giving universities the power to authorize new charters, opponents said Monday.

The criticism from the Education Law Center comes after a state Senate committee recently voted to advance the legislation, which supporters say will provide greater accountability and stronger standards for charter schools.

Nearly 119,500 students are enrolled in Pennsylvania’s 176 charters, which are publicly funded but operate independently of local districts.

The charter school statute does need updating, law center attorney David Lapp told reporters in a conference call. Yet the Senate proposal will do more harm than good, he said.

Currently, districts approve the creation of charters, negotiate enrollment limits and pay the schools a per-pupil fee. The Senate bill would allow charters to set their own enrollment limits, which Lapp said could have…

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