Pa. auditor: Flawed appeal process another reason to change Charter School Law

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Pennsylvania’s auditor general says the Education Department’s confusing process for handling appeals of charter school payments is more proof the state needs to change its Charter School Law.

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale on Thursday said the current law allows charter schools to get direct funds from the Education Department when a public school district refuses to pay. He said the department then deducts the money from the district’s state subsidy before it gives the district a chance to challenge the payment.

Districts may refuse to pay charter schools for a variety of reasons, including when it questions whether a student lives within its boundaries.

DePasquale said his auditors found there were 857 charter school payment appeals filed by districts between January 2011 and December 2015. As of Dec. 31, 82 percent of the appeals were unresolved, but $30.5 million had already been redirected from school districts to charter schools.

Current law allows the department to withhold money from school districts to pay charter schools, but DePasquale said it does not specify how the district will be refunded if it wins the appeal.

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