Donatucci to introduce new charter school reform bill

HARRISBURG, April 13 – Rep. Maria Donatucci, D-Phila./Delaware, is set to introduce legislation that would provide savings for both state and local taxpayers.


Donatucci called for support of her reform bill that would provide a clear process for school administrators to follow when closing a school building due to financial, enrollment, charter revocation under the state charter school law or other applicable reasons. Under current state law, there are no procedures in place to guide administrators who are in the process of closing a school.


“The closing of a traditional or charter school can generate chaos for any local community and force area parents into a frustrated scramble for alternatives,” Donatucci said.


The bill, H.B. 1204, would require administrators to provide ample notification of a school closing to parents, the community and the state, and set forth a clear procedure for reporting and transitioning students to other facilities and programs.


This legislation would also protect students, parents, taxpayers and communities, and provide guidance and assistance to administrators at all types of public schools in Pennsylvania -- including traditional neighborhood, brick-and-mortar charter, and cyber-charter schools.


Donatucci said that with enactment of her bill, the state also would have the opportunity to develop a database for those unused or underutilized school facilities in Pennsylvania to ensure their potential sale or reuse of taxpayer benefits.  


“Charter schools and traditional public schools should be treated equally under the law since both receive tax dollars and both are considered public schools under Pennsylvania law,” Donatucci said.