HB 530 - Amends Charter School Laws - Pennsylvania Key Vote


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Title: Amends Charter School Laws

Vote Smart's Synopsis:

Vote to pass a bill that amends certain charter school laws.


  • Establishes the Charter School Funding Advisory Commission to examine the funding of “charter school entities” (Sec. 5).
  • Specifies that the commission will consist of the following members (Sec. 5):
    • 4 members of the Senate appointed by the Senate President;
    • 4 members of the House of Representatives appointed by the House Speaker;
    • 5 representatives from “charter school entities” appointed by the chairman;
    • 4 representatives from public school districts appointed by the chairman.
    • The Secretary of Education of the Commonwealth, or a designee; and
    • The Chairman of the State Board of Education, or a designee;
  • Defines “charter school entity” as a charter school, regional charter school, or cyber charter school (Sec. 4).
  • Requires the commission to report its findings and recommendations relating to the funding of charter school entities within 1 year of the effective date of the provisions of this bill (Secs. 5 & 23).
  • Authorizes 2 or more charter schools to consolidate into a multiple charter school organization, which is authorized to operate the schools under the oversight of a single board (Sec. 16).
  • Authorizes a public school district to deduct “food services” from the calculation of payments made to cyber-charter schools beginning in the 2015-2016 school year (Sec. 14).
  • Requires all charter school renewal applications to include an evaluation for teachers consisting of at least 4 rating categories of educator performance and multiple measures of student performance  (Sec. 16).
  • Requires the State Board of Education to establish a standard performance matrix to evaluate charter school entities according to objective criteria within 18 months (Secs. 16 & 23).
  • Requires the board to establish a standard application form for initial and renewal applications for charter school entities, which includes, but is not limited to, information relating to truancy policies and the entity’s plan to meet academic performance standards (Sec. 9).
  • Authorizes a governing authority of a school district to renew a charter for the following time periods (Secs. 10 & 21):
    • 10 years, if the school satisfies the academic quality benchmark according to the performance matrix; or
    • 5 years, if the school does not satisfy the academic quality benchmark according to the performance matrix.
  • Limits the “unassigned fund balance” of a charter school entity to between 8 and 12 percent of the entity’s total budget, to be determined according to the entity’s total annual operations budget (Sec. 16).
  • Defines “unassigned fund balance” as the portion of the fund balance of a charter school entity that is available for expenditure and not designated for a specific future use (Sec. 16).
  • Prohibits a charter school entity from using unassigned funds to pay bonuses and transferring unassigned funds to a charter school foundation (Sec. 16).
  • Requires a charter school entity to conduct an audit at the end of each fiscal year and to provide the Department of Education of the Commonwealth and the school district with a copy of its annual operations budget (Sec. 15).