HARRISBURG – Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman (R-Bellefonte) and Senate Education Committee Chairman Scott Martin (R-Lancaster) raised concerns today about the Wolf Administration’s plans to make significant changes to the state’s charter school law through the regulatory process instead of working with the General Assembly:
“We are troubled by today’s news that the Wolf Administration is planning to once again circumvent the legislative process and take unilateral action that does not serve the interests of all Pennsylvania students and families. The governor’s go-it-alone strategy has been wrong during the past year during the COVID-19 pandemic; wrong during the small business shutdowns; and it is wrong now. Charter schools are public schools. Any action that impacts these institutions also hurts the students and families that charter schools are designed to help.
“The timing of this announcement is equally frustrating because the governor knows that lawmakers are hard at work on this issue. The Senate Education Committee has held two of three scheduled regional public hearings to explore the necessary reforms that will lead to a stronger education system for all students, and the Department of Education has been invited to participate in all the hearings on this issue.
“After working cooperatively and involving the Wolf Administration every step of the way in this process, we cannot understand why Governor Wolf would take these unilateral actions now to undercut the important work of the General Assembly, parents, teachers, administrators, advocates and his own Department of Education. We implore the governor to abandon this path and work cooperatively with the General Assembly to reform the charter school system and protect the education of all Pennsylvania students.”
- Acting Secretary Noe Ortega confirmed at a Senate Education Committee hearing today that the Wolf Administration plans to move forward with charter school reforms through the regulatory process.
- Ortega said that stakeholders have been contacted in the development of these regulations. However, the General Assembly has not been consulted in the development process.
- Regulations are expected to be ready for public comment by June.
- Dr. Sherri Smith of PDE said the regulations could include changes to application requirements, enrollment procedures, financial auditing standards, the redirection process and more.