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Brewster: Right-to-Know to Seek Information on New Charter School

Harrisburg - Sept. 28, 2015 - Believing that taxpayers should know how their tax dollars support the operations of the Young Scholars of McKeesport Charter School, state Sen. Jim Brewster said he will soon file a formal request seeking full disclosure of financial information.

"The creation of this charter school was not approved by the host school board," Brewster said. "It has been drawing students and tax dollars from economically strapped school districts throughout the region and has created hardship for taxpayers.

"The local taxpayer who pays the bills for this school should be able to examine the financial records and determine if their tax dollars are being used wisely."

Brewster, who has been staunchly opposed to the creation of the new charter school because it was not locally supported and would drain tax dollars, said he believes in local control and if the host school district does not welcome the charter it should not be open.

The lawmaker said he will soon file a right-to-know request with the state Department of Education for full disclosure of the Young Scholars of McKeesport Charter School's bank loans, debt arrangements, lease payments, consultant contracts, curriculum vendor relationships, management fees (if applicable), and a list of board members and minutes of meetings.

"Local taxpayers need protection from the proliferation of charter schools that sap resources and deprive public schools," Brewster said. "I support charter schools provided there is a finite number and they are providing excellent education opportunities.

"McKeesport already has one charter in operation and it's doing a good job as an education alternative. It doesn't need another."

The Young Scholars of McKeesport Charter School was created over the objection of McKeesport Area School District. The charter appealed to the state Charter School Appeal Board, which approved its application, despite local opposition.   Commonwealth Court in July affirmed the state board's decision.

Brewster, who has authored a package of legislation dealing with charter school issues, says he hopes to file the right-to-know within the next two weeks.

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