Gov. Wolf pitches update to charter school funding and oversight

Written by on March 1, 2021

Gov. Wolf pitches update to charter school funding and oversight

By Sam Dunklau / WITF

March 1, 2021

Emma Lee/ WITF

Governor Tom Wolf is pitching legislation aimed at changing how the state’s charter schools are funded and overseen.

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In essence, Wolf wants charters to use state-sponsored rates and formulas when charging for online and special education. 

Public school districts have to kick in money to charters that educate their kids. Wolf says charters sometimes overcharge districts.

Overall, the governor says, there are plenty of great publicly-funded independent school systems in the commonwealth:

“But the way the law is set up, we can’t guarantee that every charter school is actually giving every student the education we need that student to get,” said Wolf. 

Bellefonte Area School District board member Donna Smith says her district and 11 others in Central PA are calling for those changes.

“We collective board members believe that these reforms and fair and reasonable, and will not only benefit our communities and our taxpayers, but will benefit the education of our students, both in regular schools and in charter schools.” 

The proposal would put performance standards in place and require charter board members to follow state ethics rules. 

Supporters claim the changes would save taxpayers over $200 million dollars.

Critics say the proposals would slash funding and disproportionately impact students of color, who make up a majority of the student bodies at those schools.

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