Pennsylvania’s Legislature is returning to one of its toughest recurring issues — overhauling charter schools.
Among the provisions laid out in the latest omnibus proposal to get onto the House floor are a standardized application process for schools seeking charters; more consistent school performance rubrics; and an extension of the charter review period from five to 10 years.
As often happens, traditional public school and charter school advocates are divided on it.
Ana Meyers, executive director for the state Coalition for Public Charter Schools, said the proposal needs work. In particular, she opposes a $27 million funding cut for online-only charters.
However, she said she likes most of it, noting that she backs anything that makes charters more competitive.
“Charter schools and cybercharter schools are run differently than traditional public schools for a reason,” she said.
Steve Robinson, with the Pennsylvania School Board Association, said he’s concerned the reforms give charters too much of a leg up.
“Traditional public schools are set to a much higher standard than we believe charter schools are,” he said.
The measure has passed committee and is now working its way through the House.
It’s sponsored by Rep. Mike Reese, R-Westmoreland, and is similar to another bill he sponsored that failed last session.