House Bill 530 Response
July 11, 2016
The July 6, 2016 editorial “Proposed charter reform – cloudy with a chance of crisis” addresses a serious concern and is fairly well balanced but is based on misunderstandings of the proposed state legislation upon which it is offering an opinion.
At issue is House Bill 530 which is currently under consideration and the latest in a long list of legislative efforts to reform the charter school law that was first passed in 1997. The editorial states that “It (HB 530) would take away control from school districts in both oversight and regulation.” “…eliminate enrollment caps for charters and allow the schools to amend their own charters at will.” “…and would make payments directly to charters instead of having the money allocated out of the districts’ budgets.”
The statement relative to the lack of oversight and regulation is blatantly wrong because HB 530 requires the approval by the authorizing district, and sometimes the state, to every proposed change. There is absolutely nothing in HB 530 that would permit charters to amend their charters “at will”.
The elimination of enrollment caps is no different than what is currently in place per a Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision.
And the direct payment to charters is not even in the proposed legislation.
What is in HB 530 is the most comprehensive overhaul of charter legislation on almost 20 years with expanded ethical and accountability standards that the charter community supports. Any opposition to HB 530 based on inaccurate and misleading statements removes the façade that those people and organizations opposing HB 530 actually want more accountability for charter schools. What they want is charter schools eliminated and will resort to making misleading or totally inaccurate statements, hoping that people don’t take the effort to read what’s actually in the legislation. We sincerely hope that the Daily News Editorial Board has not fallen into that trap.
Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools