Legislative Council Update, October 18, 2012
Serving the School Boards of Delaware County
Charter School bill fails again as support falls apart
"Once again, a so-called charter school reform bill has failed to pass the General Assembly, putting the matter to rest as the 2011-12 session ends. On Wednesday, Oct. 17, the House adjourned without voting on SB 1115, the bill that created new rules to benefit charter schools at the expense of students, school districts, and local taxpayers.
In spite of the enormous pressure exerted by charter school advocates, in the end it was the visits, calls and emails by you and hundreds of other school directors, administrators, parents and others that made the difference and caused SB 1115 to fail.
Thank you to everyone who contacted their legislators and continued to stay in touch with them as SB 1115 was moving swiftly toward final passage through the Senate and House in these final days of session. Your messages resonated with legislators as support for SB 1115 continued to drop last Wednesday and it was apparent that the bill would not receive the necessary 102 votes for passage. In the final hours, leaders decided to adjourn without bringing the bill up for a vote.
We urge you to contact your legislators one more time – to thank those who raised questions and voiced their opposition to leaders regarding the flawed provisions of SB 1115.
In response to those who felt that SB 1115 would have been beneficial to school districts, here is a brief recap of some of the key provisions. Ask those who supported SB 1115 how these provisions would have helped school districts:
* The bill did not alter or address the existing allocation of special education funds nor the underlying problems associated with the current funding structure for special education. It simply called for the development of a special education formula for the distribution of future increases. It also allowed PDE to withhold special education funding from school districts and called for new state regulations. The bill also failed to place school districts and charter school on equal footing for special education funding. There were no additional dollars provided to special education funding.
* The bill did not address the critically flawed funding formula for charter schools, nor did it fix the double dip of pension costs that charter schools receive. Instead, it created yet another commission to study the current charter school funding formula and make recommendations. The 17-member commission was heavily stacked with people affiliated with charter schools, and included only one school board member."
In the upcoming month, the school district will hold a joint PTG mtg at SLMS on the issues surrounding charters and cyber schools in an effort to begin informing and shaping the laws on charters. On November 6, 2012, Stand Up For Public Education and vote for candidates that support our public schools and children.
Liz Schneider, Esq.
Rose Tree Media Board of School Directors
State Rep Joseph T Hackett, 610.461.5543, 161
State Rep Tom Killion. 610.325.1541, 168
Senator Dominic Pileggi, 610.358.5183
Senator Edwin Erikson, 610.853.4100