A state Senate panel Monday approved a set of changes to the regulation of charter schools that legislative leaders say is headed to the governor's desk.
The legislation would create a commission to examine charter school funding, mandate annual independent audits and require the state to directly pay charter schools, unless the schools opt to continue collecting payments from school districts that send students there. It does not contain provisions, such as the creation of a statewide authorizing board, that make it easier for charter schools to form.
Sen. Jeffrey Piccola, R-Dauphin and chairman of the Education Committee, said senators worked throughout the summer with the House and governor to produce the agreement. Discord over similar bills in June pushed state budget negotiations to the deadline.
"I would have loved to have seen a statewide authorizer, and I think the governor wanted one as well, but there just wasn't the support in the House for one that was a strong statewide authorizer, one that was meaningful," he said. Steve Miskin, a spokesman for the House Republicans, said the caucus supports the legislation as amended by the committee.
Tim Eller, a spokesman for the Department of Education, said discussions on the bill continue.