Reform for charter reimbursement necessary in PA, testifiers say
Revision model would create fair system, preserve choice
Rep. Ryan Bizzarro March 22, 2023 | 1:28 PM
HARRISBURG, March 22 – Testifiers at a House Majority Policy Committee hearing on Wednesday explained why it’s necessary to reform Pennsylvania’s charter school reimbursement model in order to create a fairer education funding system for everyone.
“Today’s hearing provided us with a great opportunity to examine how reimbursements for charter schools work, and how we can make sure we’re being proper stewards of taxpayer dollars,” said Rep. Joe Ciresi (D-Montgomery), who hosted Wednesday’s hearing. “We will always preserve school choice, but it has been more than 20 years since we last reformed our charter school law, and the testimony we heard today proved it’s now antiquated and negatively impacting school districts, students and taxpayers.”
Wednesday’s House Majority Policy hearing featured testimony from Hannah Barrick, the executive director of the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials, and Wayne Gehris, the chief financial officer of the Reading School District.
“We heard how a lack of reform has contributed to school district budget concerns and how schools’ increasing costs are impacting – and hurting – Pennsylvania taxpayers,” House Majority Policy Committee Chairman Ryan Bizzarro said.
Testifiers highlighted the driving costs that have increased since the law was first implemented in 1997, including the fact reimbursement is not linked to the actual costs charter and cyber schools incur.
“I’m disgusted by a lack of reform for charter and cyber schools,” Rep. Tarah Probst said. “Tax hikes will continue to devastate homeowners and local businesses, not only in my district but also in many districts across the state, until we address the fact reimbursement for charter and cyber schools does not reflect actual costs. It should be the same rules across the board for all schools.”
Information about this hearing and other House Majority Policy Committee hearings can be found at pahouse.com/policy. Photos to be used for publication can be found at pahouse.com/PolicyCommittee/Galleries.