HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A month after Gov. Tom Wolf proposed legislation and executive action to reform Pennsylvania’s charter school laws, parents and students rallied against those reforms at the state Capitol.
Hundreds of charter school supporters rallied at the Capitol on Monday, urging lawmakers to reject the governor’s proposals.
Wolf’s proposals include a cap on some charter school enrollment and issuing a moratorium on new cyber charter schools.
“Governor Wolf, if your goal is to do everything you can to improve all public schools, charter and district, and ensure that every child has a great school to choose, then we are with you,” said Markida Ross, whose son attends a charter school in Philadelphia, “but if your goal is to attack charter schools that have changed the course of our children’s lives and thousands of others, and to take away the choices that families like mine finally have, then we will push back.”
Charter schools are publicly financed but privately run. Last year, they received more than $1.8 billion in state and property taxes.
The nonprofit Education Voters of Pennsylvania recently released a report that says the current system for funding cyber charter schools “wastes over $290 million in taxpayer money each year.” Under current law, cyber charters are paid the same as brick-and-mortar charters.
Education Voters of Pennsylvania supports Wolf’s call for reform.
”This isn’t about taking away people’s choice. This isn’t about closing down cyber charter schools,” said Susan Spicka, the group’s executive director. “This is about getting funding in alignment with what it actually costs to educate a kid at home on a computer.”
About 140,000 Pennsylvania students are enrolled in charter schools.