PDE, Erie County Schools, and Legislators Call for Charter School Accountability Reform (June 4, 2021)

With more than 80 percent of school districts demanding charter school law reform, Pennsylvania Department of Education’s (PDE) Acting Secretary Noe Ortega joined Erie Public Schools Superintendent Brian Polito and Millcreek Township School District Superintendent Dr. Ian Roberts for a virtual press conference today to discuss bipartisan legislation that hold charter schools accountable to students and taxpayers and saves nearly $400 million.

“Students across the commonwealth deserve a quality education, no matter their zip code,” said Acting Secretary Noe Ortega. “In an effort to ensure the continued mission of high-quality learning in PA, our public schools must be held accountable for their educational outcomes and subject to fair, predictable funding structures and standards.”

Governor Wolf and bipartisan legislators are proposing a “common sense and fair plan” to fix Pennsylvania’s “broken” charter school law. The plan holds low-performing charter schools accountable to improve the quality of education, protects taxpayers by aligning funding with costs, and increases the transparency of for-profit companies that run many charter schools.

Rather than forcing school districts to overpay charter schools for services, the legislation saves $395 million a year, including $185 million by funding special education in charter schools the same way the state does for all other public schools and $210 million a year by establishing a fair statewide cyber charter school tuition rate.

To read the PDE press release, click here.