School Choice Advocates Call Report a Threat to Citizens’ Right to Public School Choice
October 13, 2010 [Philadelphia, PA]—Calling Auditor General Jack Wagner’s report, which calls for a moratorium on charter schools, a threat to the right to public school choice, Pennsylvania State Senators Anthony Hardy Williams, (DEM 8th) and Andrew Dinniman (DEM 19th) Democratic Chairman of the Senate Education Committee, expressed concern about the impact of a moratorium on the ability of Pennsylvania students to receive a quality education.
“The Auditor General’s report is incomplete and if implemented will prove devastating to the prospects for many children to receive a quality education in the Commonwealth,” said Williams. “The basis of his call for a moratorium, which is a funding discrepancy, is erroneous and flies in the face of the facts.”
State Senator Jeff Piccola, (Rep 15th) Republican Chairman of the Senate Education Committee, released the following statement. “I do not support Wagner’s call for a moratorium on new charters and cyber charters. I recognize that some in the public education establishment believe the charter school funding formula is flawed, but we should not punish kids, families and communities from starting new charter schools over these grievances. I have introduced comprehensive legislation to overhaul our charter school law. An important component of that legislation would create a balanced state commission, putting all parties in the same room to try to hammer out a more equitable funding formula. One of the fundamental problems with this dialogue is the continued hostility from the public education establishment toward charter schools. Charter schools are an important segment of our public education offerings for families and students, and they deserve fair funding.”
According to the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools, Guy Ciarrocchi, the Auditor General’s report is deeply flawed. “Auditor General Wagner fails to point out that charter schools receive only between 70-80 percent per pupil funding than do school districts – and still outperform district schools 2 to 1 in AYP scores, including cyber charter schools, which met 86 percent of benchmarks this year, states Ciarrocchi. “In addition, districts are reimbursed approximately 60 percent for each student that leaves for a charter school—taxpayer money for students those districts no longer educate. Charter schools provide more for less, educating students with 70-80 cents on the dollar. We respectfully submit that the AG may wish to look at ensuring that Pennsylvania taxpayers availing themselves to their right to school choice are not penalized by receiving a lesser degree of funding for CHOOSING to enroll in one of the commonwealth’s PUBLIC charter schools.”
“The right of parents to choose and have access to as many quality education options as possible for their children is a civil rights issue,” said Williams. “We will continue to fight vigorously to expand and defend that right.”
For more information about Pennsylvania State Senator Anthony Hardy Williams, please visit www.senatoranthonyhwilliams.com.