On Monday, December 16, Fight for Philly joined Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools (PCAPS) in a meeting and rally at the office of State Senator Anthony Williams. PCAPS requested a meeting to talk to the senator about his support for Senate Bill 1085, the “Charter School NON-Reform” bill. We think SB 1085 will do the opposite of providing the real reform Pennsylvania’s charter school system needs and will instead make it even easier for unaccountable charter schools to grow. The bill would cut state funding for charter pension costs and make local school districts make up the difference. It would remove caps on charter school enrollments, leading to unrestricted charter expansion without local community input. It also strips language requiring charter schools to be models of innovation for public schools, eliminating their intended purpose as laboratories for new teaching methods.
Senator Williams is the only Democratic co-sponsor of the bill and the only one from Philadelphia.
PCAPS is also concerned with provisions of SB 1085 that require direct payment to charter schools, require ten year charter school renewals, and require all school districts to make their “strategic vision for chartering” available on their public websites. Under state funding trends, these provisions would severely impact school district budgets at a time when districts are struggling financially.
Senator Williams listened politely to our concerns but wouldn’t cancel his sponsorship of SB1085. He also told us he won’t end his support for removing caps on charter school enrollments. So we’re still lobbying him and asking you to help. Sen. Williams should be focused on getting more resources and funding for the Philadelphia schools instead of pushing the agenda of corporate backers and un-proven charters.
Help us keep up the fight for public education! Sign here to demand the Senator drop his support of SB 1085 and invest in public education!