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 A NOTE FROM ANA 

Friends,

We have great news for charter schools in Pennsylvania this week!
 
On Wednesday, all four charter school reform bills - 355 (Rep. Reese), 356 (Rep. Dowling), 357 (Rep. Topper) and 358 (Rep. Marshall) - were passed by the PA House. I am not sure how familiar everyone is with the legislative process, but this is a 3-step process. First, the bills move out of committee, then they go for 2nd consideration, which is a very important step that allows other lawmakers to offer amendments that could potentially derail a bill or alter it in a way we don’t want. Then, the bills go for third consideration, which is the final vote in the House before the bills are moved to the Senate. The charter school reform bills had 3rd consideration on Wednesday and they now move to the PA Senate, where a similar process will take place. Having said that, these bills are now part of the budget negotiations, so there is a chance that they will be amended into the school code along with other education items, such as the change in compulsory school age. 

Some of the bills were amended when they had 2nd consideration, but they were changes that we feel comfortable with or things that we can change when the bills get to the Senate. We had to negotiate in order to get these bills to a point where we had enough votes to move them to the Senate and avoid an amendment that would have cut funding for charters (and there were many of them). If we can get these bills to the finish-line along with the Charter School Funding Advisory Commission as part of the budget process, I think we will avoid any funding cuts to charter schools in the immediate future but, I assure you, the funding conversation is not going away.
 
We defeated all the funding amendments and all the other amendments that would have been detrimental to charter schools. However, I have to say that I am worried about the future of our charter schools, which is why I have been urging all of you to build relationships with your elected officials! We need schools and families to get more involved, and show the General Assembly why charter schools work.  

I also want to take a moment to thank all of the prime sponsors of the charter reform bills, especially Rep. Jesse Topper and Rep. Mike Reese, who did a fabulous job along with Speaker Mike Turzai and Majority Leader Bryan Cutler in getting these bills successfully voted out of the House.   

So, to make what has been a very long process seem short, we are still far from the finish-line, but at least we are advancing and yesterday was a big step towards charter school reform.

We are having a legislative conference call, for PCPCS members only, to discuss next steps and also to discuss charter school funding tomorrow, June 14, at 11am. If you are a member and would like to call in, please email me at a.meyers@pacharters.org

Also, this week PCPCS staff and member schools were on hand at the Capitol to protest a small rally in favor of cyber charter school funding reform. Our protest led to a heated debate between our staff, a few member schools, and Susan Spicka with Education Voters PA, as well as Larry Feinberg, president of the Haverford Township SD Board and advocacy ambassador for the PA School Boards Association. This took place the same day that the House considered the charter school reform bills. At the end of the conversation, my take away was that even Larry Feinberg agrees that public school funding is an issue that deserves an in depth discussion. I made sure to let our opponents and the press know that the attacks have to stop. We must all come together with factual data from both sides via a fair and balanced funding commission in order for the General Assembly to make any policy decisions on charter school funding.  You can read more about this encounter here.

As always, please let me know if you have any questions. 


Have a great weekend, 
-- Ana

 LEGISLATIVE UPDATE 
SESSION SCHEDULE: The Senate will return next week for three days and the House will return to Harrisburg for four session days.  

SB 590 (sponsored by Senator Browne) was voted unanimously out of the Senate Education Committee with no amendments last week. This bill would create a Charter School Funding Advisory Commission to look at funding for both brick-and-mortar and cyber charter schools. Charter school funding has not been reviewed in a very long time and this is an open opportunity to look at charter school funding. The commission would take 18 months to review information before presenting findings to the General Assembly. PCPCS is supportive of a fair and balanced funding commission and we are actively having discussions with both the Senate and the House about SB 590. You can read our letter of support here.

For more information on this week's legislative happenings, please see the below reports:

LEGISLATIVE REPORT
BILL REPORT
 CHARTERS IN THE NEWS 

Charter school bills win Pa. House passage but don’t touch the controversial funding issue
Pennlive | June 12, 2019

A package of four bills that addresses issues arising out of the state’s 22-year-old charter school law won passage in the state House of Representatives on Wednesday.
 READ THE ARTICLE

Public school advocates called for greater accountability for cyber charters. Then things got heated
Pennsylvania Captial-Star | June 12, 2019

PCPCS organized a counter-protest to an anti-cyber charter school rally at the Capitol on Tuesday, the same day the House considered a slate of bills that would impose new regulations on the state’s charter sector.

“[These families] are petrified they’re going to be forced to go to a school district that will not work for them,” Ana Meyers, executive director of the Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools, said. “Test scores are not a priority of these families.”

“I’ve been in school choice [advocacy] for 10 years and the rhetoric has never been this bad,” Meyers said. READ THE ARTICLE

Black leaders ask: Is the Philadelphia School District ‘targeting’ minority-led charters?
The Philadelphia Inquirer | June 9, 2019

Eastern University Charter School is facing closure by the Philadelphia School District and its CEO, Omar Barlow, who is black and whose school’s enrollment is 95 percent black, says he believes race is a factor. “What else could they be targeting, when a number of traditional public schools that our young people would attend if we closed are failing miserably?" READ THE ARTICLE 

Harrisburg charter school hearings on hold after board ordered to make no decisions
Pennlive | June 8, 2019

A series of hearings set up to decide the future of a Harrisburg charter school have been postponed amid ongoing turmoil within the local school district, including a Friday court decision that all but prohibits elected school board members from making binding decisions.

For now, the fate of Premier Arts and Science Charter School remains unclear despite a pending revocation of its charter, which was set into motion by Harrisburg School Board members last year. READ THE ARTICLE 

Charters awaiting decisions pack school board’s budget hearing
The Philadelphia Public School Notebook | June 7, 2019

The Philadelphia Board of Education invited members of the public to give their feedback on the District’s budget and spending priorities for 2019-20 during meetings on Thursday, and three charter schools (ASPIRA Charter School at Stetson and Olney Charter High School, another Renaissance charter operated by ASPIRA, and Global Leadership Academy) took the opportunity to protest recent board decisions, busing students to a morning hearing to testify on their schools’ behalf. READ THE ARTICLE 

Charter High School for Architecture and Design agrees to close after next year
The Philadelphia Inquirer | June 10, 2019

Facing closure by the Philadelphia School District, the Charter High School for Architecture and Design (CHAD) has agreed to surrender its charter.

While CHAD leaders said the agreement contemplates the school transitioning to district management, district officials would not comment Monday on the school’s future beyond its closure, slated for the end of next school year. 
READ THE ARTICLE 

Bill would create separate PIAA playoffs in some sports, end new transfer rule, and more: See the details, PIAA response
Pennlive | June 11, 2019

Rep. Aaron Bernstine, a Republican from Butler County, introduced the Parity in Interscholastic Athletics Act on Tuesday morning. The measure would change Act 219 of 1972 by separating high school state athletic playoffs for public and private schools in a variety of sports. PCPCS has been actively engaged with the Pennsylvania Athletic Equity Committee and the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference on a compromise. READ THE ARTICLE

Environmental Charter School parents unhappy about bus changes
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | June 11, 2019

Administrators and parents at Environmental Charter School are the latest group to raise concerns about the city school district’s plans to transport some students via Port Authority bus next year. READ THE ARTICLE

Charter school for dyslexic students receive $2M grant from state
Pittsburgh Business Journal | June 7, 2019

The Provident Charter School, a Pittsburgh-based school for children with dyslexia, announced Thursday that it had received a five-year, $2 million grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Education. 
READ THE ARTICLE

When it comes to cyber charters, doing nothing is not an option | Editorial
The Philadelphia Inquirer | June 7, 2019

"The authorizing legislation that allowed charter schools dates back 22 years, with the main change being to allow cyber charters. Charter education can no longer be considered an experiment in finding education alternatives; it’s a full-fledged industry with few controls. The cyber school segment of this sector is tainting the value of those charters that are successful. Worse, we’re spending nearly half billion dollar a year to damage children’s academic growth, and we seem perfectly content to continue doing it." READ THE ARTICLE

Pitts­burgh students need more op­tions, not fewer | Opinion
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | June 9, 2019

"Consider Westinghouse High School, located in Homewood. The median household income is around $36,000 and 10% of 6th- through 8th-graders are proficient at English, 50 percentage points below the state average.

Charter schools and tax-credit scholarships give students in Homewood and Wilkinsburg hope. Research shows when there is competition, struggling districts rise to the challenge and improve, too." READ THE ARTICLE

 OTHER EDUCATION NEWS 

After huge demand, state senator wants Pa. to budget $125 million for school safety grants
PENNSYLVANIA CAPITAL-STAR

Will Pa. pass a budget on time? Battles loom over raising minimum wage, spending increases
PENNLIVE

Gov. Wolf to veto $100M private and religious schools bill in Pennsylvania
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE


It’s important that kids read proficiently by third grade. Only half of Pittsburgh students do
WESA

Why Pa. needs a new statewide costing-out study for public education | Opinion
PENNSYLVANIA CAPITAL-STAR

Heinz Endowments gives $1 million to Pittsburgh Promise
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE


Bill allowing armed school security officers passes Pa. Senate
PENNLIVE

Hundreds of Lehigh Valley parents still cited for kids’ truancy, though fewer under new law
ALLENTOWN MORNING CALL

Republican special election winners sworn in to state Senate
PENNSYLVANIA CAPITAL-STAR

More tax credits? More spending? Pa. lawmakers continue to clash on education
WHYY

State takeover of Harrisburg schools may need to last a decade or more | Editorial
PENNLIVE
 NATIONAL CHARTER SCHOOL CONFERENCE 

Join PCPCS at the 2019 National Charter Schools Conference (NCSC), June 30-July 3 in Las Vegas, Nevada. NCSC is the premier conference for current and aspiring leaders in the charter school movement.

To register and learn more about the National Charter Schools Conference, click here. We look forward to seeing you in Las Vegas this summer. Viva Las Vegas!
SPECIAL INVITATION!

I would like to personally invite you to join us for a Pennsylvania Reception at the National Charter Schools Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada on Tuesday, July 2 at the Mandalay Bay Conference Center, Oceanside Room E at 4:45pm-6pm. Our reception is being sponsored by the MacMain Law Group you can RSVP here! We hope to see you there!  

RSVP FOR THE PA RECEPTION
REGISTER FOR THE CONFERENCE
 CONFERENCE INNOVATION STRAND 

PCPCS is proud to announce the addition of the Innovation Strand to our 2019 annual conference Building Pathways to Excellence. We are seeking innovative educators who are eager to share their brilliant ideas with schools from across Pennsylvania. For more information on how to submit a proposal, please visit the Innovation Strand website. Proposal deadline is June 28th, 2019.

LEARN MORE
 PCPCS ANNUAL CONFERENCE 



PCPCS is thrilled to announce the date is set for our 2019 Annual Conference: Building Pathways to Excellence: October 9-11 in Harrisburg, PA. You can view the Save the Date and even register for our conference today!
We are also beyond excited that Dr. Steve Perry will be the Keynote Speaker for this important event! Widely respected by grassroots community members and internationally renowned leaders, Dr. Steve Perry’s charismatic and compelling voice is an inspiration you don't want to miss! Register now for early bird discounts!
REGISTER TODAY
LEARN MORE
 UPCOMING EVENTS 
Safe School Initiative Presentation
Presented by the United States Secret Service
Wednesday, June 19
Neumann University
Aston, PA
CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE
State of Black Learning Conference
August 15-16, 2019
Pittsburgh, PA
Hosted by Chase Patterson, CEO at Urban Academy of Greater Pittsburgh
& PCPCS

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE
ALICE Instructor Certification Training
Wednesday, August 7
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Bear Creek Community Charter School
Wilkes-Barre - Luzerne County, PA
CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE
PA Free Enterprise Week
Pennsylvania Free Enterprise Week is a one-of-a-kind summer program that offers incoming high school juniors and seniors a unique opportunity to see what it is like to run their own business. To learn more and/or apply for this opportunity, CLICK HERE
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702 E. Simpson Street #318, Mechanicsburg, PA 17055
Phone: 484-356-0191  /  Email: info@PaCharters.org

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