Roebuck commends governor’s commitment to charter school reform

State Rep. James Roebuck, D-Phila., and Democratic chairman of the House Education Committee, released the following statement applauding Gov. Tom Wolf’s most recent charter school reform plan: 


“While I do support charter schools, I believe major revisions are needed to the 22-year-old law regarding the governance, financing and accountability of charter and cyber charter schools. 


“My mission has been to ensure that the original intent of the charter school law, which asserts that charter schools were to be innovative and to offer policies to be replicated, continues to be upheld in order to protect students and taxpayers. But we have not yet seen one substantial report that charter schools have created any educational model which could be replicated by other public schools. 


“Now, thanks to Governor Tom Wolf, with whom I am working closely, the charter schools will have to meet more requirements to improve accountability and transparency.


“Over the past several legislative sessions I have pushed initiatives that would improve and strengthen charter school accountability. Most recently, we have introduced several individual bills calling on our colleagues who are concerned with public education in our state to move forward several measures, including imposing limits on fees charged for organizational management to making sure funds collected by charter schools for special education match the actual cost of special education services provided.


“Since charter schools and cyber charter schools are public schools, they are funded by public taxes. Governor Wolf wants to assure us that these schools are using public tax money wisely and fairly.


“Perhaps Governor Wolf’s new initiative, coupled with our continuing efforts, can rectify this.”