Ciresi supports Gov. Wolf’s Charter School Reforms

HARRISBURG, Aug. 13 – State Rep. Joe Ciresi, D-Montgomery, applauded the executive action Gov. Tom Wolf announced today to reform Pennsylvania’s charter school law, and echoed his call for comprehensive charter school reform legislation.

“Charter school costs have been growing at an unsustainable rate at the expense of PA taxpayers, and it’s time we got better results,” Ciresi said. “The outdated charter school law written in 1997 doesn’t fit the new reality of cyber charter education, and too many charter schools statewide underperform without any accountability to their students and our taxpayers.

“The additional oversight Governor Wolf announced today, including holding charter schools to the same transparency and ethical standards as school districts, limiting enrollment at under-performing charter schools, providing more oversight of for-profit charter operators, and preventing charter schools from overcharging taxpayers are all commonsense measures that will give us greater confidence that taxpayer funds are being spent responsibly.

“I have been actively working towards charter school reform in the legislature, including pushing for cyber charter funding reform, returning local control over charter funding to school districts, and ensuring accountability over how taxpayer money – $9.7 million just from my district – is spent through elected school board oversight. I am pleased to see the governor calling for new legislative reforms including performance standards, funding reform and relief for school districts, and greater transparency, and I look forward to working with him on creating meaningful change,” he said.

Ciresi is a cosponsor and active proponent of bipartisan cyber charter funding reform through H.B. 526, which would end the use of taxpayer funds to pay for external cyber charter education if the school district already offers a comparable cyber program. He has also introduced H.B. 1571 to allow school districts to decide whether to pay for charter schools outside of their boundaries and oversight, and has repeatedly called for reforms to give elected school boards greater oversight and board representation over charter school operations.

For more information, call Ciresi’s district office at 484-200-8265.