Charter School Reform Leads Pre-election Legislative To-do List

For the GOP-controlled Legislature and Republican Gov. Tom Corbett, reforms to Pennsylvania’s charter school law will top the agenda for the short pre-election session starting today.

Before the June recess, Corbett said the sides came “within a sentence” of passing a bill to give the state a larger role in regulating charter schools. The bill would have launched a process to address funding inequities that charters and school districts often grumble give the other an advantage.

“I think charter reform helps everybody,” Corbett said last week. “It helps the schools districts and it helps the charters. We need to get that done because a lot of that goes to the funding and the amount of funding.”

Just as important might be behind-the-scenes work on big-ticket issues such as transportation funding andpension reform that are too complex and controversial to finish before the Nov. 6 election but could get needed early attention for action in 2013.

“Both are … complicated, multilevel pieces of legislation, and both are going to require close cooperation between the governor’s office and House and Senate to pass. But they are both bills we actually need to get done,” said Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, R-Delaware County.

Most bills packing the eight scheduled pre-election session days in the Senate and 10 in the House will address less-controversial, lower-profile issues. If leaders play their cards right, they will avoid giving challengers fresh weapons with which to attack incumbents seeking re-election.

Click here to read the full article by Jan Murphy and Charles Thompson published in the  Patriot News (September 23, 2012)

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