$27.7 billion budget plan taking shape in Pa.

    House and Senate Republicans have released the final details of the GOP-negotiated $27.7 billion Pennsylvania budget.

    Several education-related proposals backed by the governor remain in flux, however, including one that would change the way charter schools are created and overseen.

    Senate Education Committee Chairman Jeff Piccola, R-Dauphin, says some lawmakers want to allow the state to bypass school districts to create charters, while others want to keep districts in control of the process.

    “There’s an infinite number of variations that you could phase-in, implement, partial … the sky’s the limit,” he said Tuesday. “So what we’re doing now is trying to narrow our differences so that we can come up with some kind of approach to a statewide authorization.”

    Piccola says he’s optimistic about the various education bills, but the only one that’s a likely done deal, so far, is a proposal to base half of a teacher’s evaluation on student performance.

    Also at issue is a proposed program for financially distressed school districts.

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