Reese Reminds Auditor General of Charter Reform Bill Passed in House
HARRISBURG -- Hours after a report regarding possible improvements to Pennsylvania’s charter and cyber charter education system was made public by the Pennsylvania Office of the Auditor General, Rep. Mike Reese (R-Westmoreland/Fayette) was quick to identify similarities to the report and legislation he helped author almost a year ago.

According to the report, Pennsylvania’s legislature should act quickly to improve accountability, effectiveness and transparency of charter schools, including creating an independent statewide oversight board. The report was released Monday after a series of public meetings.

“His recommendations nearly mirror what the House proposed in September when we passed House Bill 618,” Reese said. “I respect the work that the auditor general did on this, but the House Education Committee has been working on this for years. We sent a good, strong bill to the House floor, got it passed and it is now in the Senate.”

House Bill 618, sponsored by Rep. Joe Emrick (R-Northampton), passed in the House with a 133-62 bipartisan vote. The bill proposes a two-year elimination of the well-known cyber charter school “double-dip” by allowing school districts to deduct full costs of pension contributions and food service while a Charter School Funding Advisory Commission assembles and creates a permanent and efficient funding formula. The commission would be made up of various stakeholders including parents, teachers, school administrators and the Department of Education.

Additionally, the bill includes:

• Transparency and accountability measures such as limiting fund balances that can be carried by charter and cyber charter schools.

• Application of Pennsylvania’s Ethics Act to charter and cyber charter school trustees, administrators and employees.

• An academic performance matrix to measure and assess academic performance using student assessments, attendance and attrition, and graduation rates.

• Extension of standard compulsory attendance laws to charter and cyber charter students.

Reese said that although the issue is not new, he is hopeful that the Senate will pass House Bill 618 soon and send it on to Gov. Tom Corbett.

“The issues pointed out by the auditor general’s office are more than just talking points – they’re real hardships to the taxpayers of this Commonwealth. Every delay in moving forward with real improvements just extends this hardship,” Reese said. 

Representative Mike Reese
59th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Raymond Smith
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