May 10, 2019
Honorable Members of the House Education Committee,
On behalf of the Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools (PCPCS), I am
writing to express our support for House Bills 355, 356, 357 and 358, and I urge you to
vote in favor of these bills at Monday’s meeting of the Education Committee.
While groundbreaking upon its enactment in 1997, Pennsylvania’s Charter School Law
has become outdated, and significant reforms are needed to address charter operations
and management. The reforms embodied in this package of bills are critical to
improving and strengthening the law governing charter schools.
HB 355, sponsored by Rep. Reese, will strengthen and clarify ethics requirements for
charter schools, which will only enhance the public’s trust in Pennsylvania’s charter
school community. HB 356, sponsored by Rep. Dowling, will address the issues
relating to charter school facilities, including the ability for charters to purchase/lease
unused school district buildings and access to district facilities for cyber charter students
taking state standardized tests. HB 357, sponsored by Rep. Topper, will establish the
process for charter applications, renewals and amendments, which currently results in
overly burdensome and lengthy stipulations placed on charters by their authorizers.
Finally, HB 358, sponsored by Rep. Marshall, would give charter school students the
ability to participate in dual enrollment programs, which their peers in district schools
already partake in.
We appreciate the leadership of Representatives Reese, Dowling, Topper and Marshall
to introduce these reform bills in order to ensure charter, regional charter and cyber
charter schools remain a strong, quality school choice option for the Commonwealth’s
children and families.
We greatly appreciate your time and hope that we can count on your support for these
crucial pieces of legislation.