Educators, Pa. lawmakers wait for Gov. Corbett to act on charter schools

    Pennsylvania lawmakers are pressing Gov. Tom Corbett to take the lead on charter schools.

    A coalition of public charter schools are calling on lawmakers to approve bills that would reform how the schools are administered.

    That’s become a more urgent matter. Education Department Secretary Ron Tomalis said public charter schools are attracting more and more children every year.

    “We are no longer in a time of experimentation. We are in a time that this is part of the foundation of choices, part of the foundation of public education,” Tomalis said Wednesday. “Gov. Corbett and the administration believe we need to get the charter school bill moving forward this fall.”

    Republican Sen. Jeffrey Piccola, a leading proponent of the movement, says all eyes are on the governor to signal what he wants in terms of charter school reform, vouchers and school choice.

    “It’s not unlike the Marcellus Shale or transportation,” Piccola said. “Legislative advocates can advance the issue so far, but these are big issues … they require the vision of a statewide elected official, namely the governor, to push that policy across the finish line.”

    Corbett has said passing school-choice legislation is his top priority this fall.

    Piccola said he’s hoping Corbett announces his vision for education within the next week or so.

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