Comprehensive Education Legislation Endorsed by York County House Republicans
HARRISBURG – The York County House Republican delegation today joined the majority of its colleagues in supporting House Bill 618, legislation which would bring about much-needed reforms to Pennsylvania’s charter and cyber charter school system. The bill, which passed 173-22, may now be taken up by the state Senate.

House Bill 618 would reform Pennsylvania’s 16-year-old Charter School Law, improve education options for students and parents, and offer financial savings for school districts and, in turn, Commonwealth taxpayers,” said Majority Whip Stan Saylor (R-Red Lion). “This is an important piece of legislation that provides additional support for Pennsylvania’s public school system, while offering safeguards for the parents and students who look outside that system for their education needs.”

The bill would create a Charter School Funding Advisory Commission to explore funding issues related to charter and cyber charter schools and make appropriate recommendations to the General Assembly and the governor by March 30, 2014.

“The commission would be comprised of parents, teachers, administrators and legislators, and would meet with stakeholders to examine the true cost of educating a child,” said Rep. Ron Miller (R-Jacobus). “This is essential to improving transparency and reducing waste of taxpayer dollars within the system.”

House Bill 618 would require reimbursement directly to charter and cyber charter schools from the Department of Education, with appropriate documentation of student enrollment and residency. No longer would payments be able to be held in escrow.

“If this bill becomes law, charter and cyber charter schools will no longer have to worry about payment disputes with school districts,” commented Rep. Seth Grove (R-Dover). “The charter or cyber charter school will be paid on time, and school districts will no longer be faced with the task of paying invoices from them.”

The legislation would create a matrix to measure and assess the academic performance of charter and cyber charter schools and require all initial and renewal charter and cyber charter school applicants to include a teacher evaluation system.

“Any school that satisfies the academic performance benchmark would be recognized for its achievement through a 10-year renewal term,” Rep. Will Tallman (R-Hanover) said. “This would be on top of their initial term of five years, also a change from current law.

Pennsylvania taxpayers also realize significant savings under House Bill 618, which returns to districts overpayment of cyber charter school pension costs allowed under the current funding formula.

“Individual school districts are currently required to reimburse 100 percent of the cyber charter school pension costs, on top of a 50 percent reimbursement by the Department of Education,” said Rep. Keith Gillespie (R-Hellam). “House Bill 618, which sunsets after the 2014-15 school year, is estimated to save school districts and local taxpayers more than $84 million during that time frame.”

Anticipated savings for York County’s public schools are as follows:

• Central York School District - $152,331.26
• Dallastown Area School District - $223,034.12
• Dover Area School District – $190,335.22
• Eastern York School District – $110,104.06
• Hanover School District – $199,533.90
• Northeastern York School District – $215,527.68
• Northern York School District – $155,877.14
• Red Lion Area School District – $335,172.32
• Southeastern School District – $224,615.06
• Southwestern School District – $211,291.92
• Spring Grove Area School District – $ 151,416.34
• West Shore School District – $496,541.38
• West York Area School District – $ 185,762.58
• York City School District – $749,202.88
• York Suburban School District - $61,183.19

“In addition, $65 million will be returned to the Commonwealth’s school districts, as a result of imposed limits on unassigned fund balances that charter and cyber charter schools may carry,” Rep. Mike Regan (R-Dillsburg) said. “Nearly $1.2 million of that will go back to York County’s public schools.” 
House Bill 618 has been endorsed by the Pennsylvania Associations of School Business Officials, School Administrators and Rural and Small Schools, the Pennsylvania School Boards Association, the Pennsylvania League of Urban Schools, and the Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children.

York County House Republican Delegation
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Scott Little
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