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Pa. Charter Schools to Get Special Division in the State's Ed. Department

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By Daarel Burnette II. This story originally appeared on the State EdWatch blog.

Pennsylvania's Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf said Wednesday that he will establish a divison of charter schools within the state's education department to better support the state's growing charter school sector.  

The division's staff members will provide charter schools with fiscal and academic oversight and help manage the state's charter school reauthorization process.

"Charter schools play an important role in our education system, but that role must be accompanied by sufficient  oversight," Wolf said in a statement. "Establishing this new division within the Department of Education will allow us to maximize our resources to not only ensure charters are being properly supported, but that they are being held accountable to taxpayers."

Pennsylvania began allowing for charter schools in 1997. There are now 1.7 million students attending both 162 brick-and-mortar schools and 14 cyber schools.  

Because of the nimble structure of charter schools, which receive public funds but operate independently, many charter advocates say they require a different sort of support from state department officials. 

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