PCPCS public statement on HB 530
July 15, 2016
For almost six years the charter school community has been working in good faith to create legislation that would address the ethical and accountability issues concerns of opponents, resolve the debate over the costs of charter schools, update the nearly 20 year old charter law to include operational efficiencies of charter schools, and attempt to offer policies that will direct more of the limited dollars for public education from attorneys and bankers to the education of children.
House Bill 530 was the legislative vehicle for those changes, but it was not brought up for a vote by the legislature this week and another school year will pass without many of the needed reforms.
What has been lost for now are provisions relative to ethics, limitations on fund balances, increased financial accountability provisions, teacher evaluations, an independent commission to help resolve the continuing conflict between districts and charters on funding, provisions that would allow charters to spend tax dollars more efficiently, and initiatives that would eliminate much of the cost associated with districts and charters in legal challenges.
The contentions that HB 530 would allow any charter to unilaterally expand or make changes to its charter or that the legislation would loosen enrollment cap limits are simply not true, and have been created as a distraction by those who oppose charter schools and school choice. In all legislation there is give and take, but it seems that those who oppose the mere existence of charters schools only want to take. While we were very concerned about the arbitrary funding cuts in HB 530, we continue to believe that the other reforms struck a fair and balanced effort to improve education in Pennsylvania. In addition to further delaying good reform efforts, the opposition to HB 530 removes the façade that those people and organizations opposing HB 530 actually want more accountability for charter schools. What they truly want is charter schools and parental choice eliminated.
We will continue to push to improve the charter school law, because our children deserve nothing less.