Charter schools accused of ignoring Pa. Right to Know Law

    The head of Pennsylvania’s Office of Open Records is pointing a finger at public charter schools for being the biggest violators of the commonwealth’s Right-to-Know law, now 5 years old.

    Lawmakers are in the midst of an effort to tweak the language of the law.

    The measure lets citizens request government records starting with the presumption that all such documents are public, putting the burden of proof on agencies, not citizens.

    Director Terry Mutchler says revisions should address charter schools, which she says are the most consistent violators of the law.  

    “Charter schools are the, they are the cancer on the, you know, on the good health of the Right-to-Know Law in the commonwealth,” she said.

    A spokesman for the statewide coalition of charter schools says his group hasn’t heard about such a problem but will work to address it.

    Pennsylvania’s 180 charter schools allegedly ignore the state’s Right-To-Know Law; but because they are publicly funded, they are bound to comply with it, according to Mutchler who spoke before a state Senate committee on Monday.

    A lawyer who represents media groups requesting public records says one fix would be to impose fines on government entities – not just for defying court orders, but for defying the Office of Open Records.


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