Philadelphia Area Superintendents Call for Charter Law Reform, Hope to Push Issue to Forefront of Gov. Wolf’s Budget Address Next Week

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At a news conference last week at Whitehall Elementary School in Norristown, close to 30 superintendents from the Philadelphia area stood together earlier this week as they demanded changes to Pennsylvania’s charter law. (Image via The Inquirer.

Nearly 30 superintendents from the Philadelphia area stood together earlier this week as they demanded changes to Pennsylvania’s charter law which is forcing their school districts to send increasingly larger shares of their budgets to charter schools, writes Maddie Hanna for The Philadelphia Inquirer.

They called on Governor Tom Wolf, who pledged changes to the system last year, to make the issue a priority during his budget address next week.

Among the requests was a moratorium on new charters and expansions on existing ones.

“It simply cannot wait any longer,” said Souderton Area School District Superintendent Frank Gallagher at Norristown news conference.

Among the main issues for district officials is the special-education funding system that mandates districts to pay charters the same rate for every special-education student, regardless of their needs.

As a result, said West Chester Area School District Superintendent Jim Scanlon, the district is sending the same amount to charter schools it did five years ago, despite recruiting back around 200 students from charters.

Meanwhile, charter leaders argued that the increase can be attributed to students rejecting traditional schools in favor of charters.

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