HARRISBURG – The Executive Director of PennCAN: The Pennsylvania Campaign for Achievement Now, Jonathan Cetel, issued the following statement on the passage of the 2016-17 budget and the accompanying School Code:
“We watched today as the House and Senate finalized the remaining portions of the 2016-17 budget package, including the School Code, with mixed emotions.
We applaud the General Assembly and the Governor in their efforts to increase funding for Pennsylvania schools and the enactment of quality policy initiatives and the expansion of EITC/OSTC.
Yet, we are frustrated that for the second year in a row the most crucial and transformative education reform measures were left-for-dead on the negotiating table. These initiatives include: the elimination of the practice of furloughing teachers based solely on seniority (HB805) which legislative leaders vowed to make a priority in budget discussions; an intervention process for the Commonwealth’s lowest-performing schools (SB6); and comprehensive charter reform (HB530) which would have increased accountability for charters and saved districts millions in reimbursements to cyber charters.
This afternoon, I sent a final plea to House members to ensure that the resources the state is sending to our schools are tied to reforms that improve the educational opportunities for all students. Unfortunately, the threat of a veto from Governor Wolf, on any reform bill that did not significantly limit the growth of charter schools (regardless of their quality or performance), was more persuasive than the needs of the 132,500+ students who attend a Pennsylvania charter school.”
PennCAN: Launched in May 2012, PennCAN: The Pennsylvania Campaign for Achievement Now, is a 501(c)3 nonprofit education reform advocacy organization building a movement of Pennsylvanians with the political will to enact smart public policies so that every Pennsylvania child has access to a great public school.