Students across the Keystone State are gearing up for another busy school year filled with education milestones. While families prepare for back-to-school, they are not the only ones getting ready for a busy fall. Legislators, too, will have their agenda full of education-related items.
Earlier this year the Pennsylvania Senate passed HB 97, a comprehensive charter reform bill. The bill remains in the House and has potential for movement when legislators return to the capitol. The Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools supports this bill and hopes our state representatives will make this a top priority.
House Bill 97 includes many improvements to the 20-year charter law including longer charter terms for successful charter schools, the right of first refusal on public school buildings and the addition of two charter representatives to the Charter Appeals Board, ensuring adequate representation for public charter schools on a board that oversees much of their activity.
These reforms may seem minor to many, but to charter school operators, educators and families, they are essential to the future growth of the public charter school sector in Pennsylvania. It is essential that our legislators prioritize HB 97 to support these students and their families.
Twenty years ago when Pennsylvania became one of the first states in the country to pass a charter school law, our lawmakers understood the potential for academic success. Today, let’s hope our legislators understand the important need to build on that success by passing HB 97.
Ana Meyers, King of Prussia
Ana Meyers is executive director of the The Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools.