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Is charter school reform on the horizon?

Plus, thousands of State Police records accidentally deleted.

The logo of PA Post, a free daily newsletter delivering the top news from across Pennsylvania every day.

A daily newsletter by The logo of Spotlight PA, an independent, nonpartisan newsroom producing investigative journalism for Pennsylvania.
Your Postmaster: Colin Deppen

Wednesday, January 24, 2024
Today: Charter chatter, missing records, primary season, Casey vs. McCormick, antitrust case, out-of-state buyers, and Punxsutawney PETA. 
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Pennsylvania lawmakers say a court mandate to overhaul public school funding has opened avenues for compromise on long-sought charter school funding reform after years of stalled attempts.

Tuition for charter school students is almost entirely funded by the public school districts in which they live, and key lawmakers on both sides of the aisle acknowledged that this arrangement leads to financial losses for districts, which can’t reduce costs enough to offset charter tuition. 

Democratic- and GOP-authored reports, meant to kick-start the school funding conversation, hint at possible common ground. But changes will require navigating a political minefield, per Katie Meyer.

Read Spotlight PA's full report: Long-sought charter school changes on the table as Pa. lawmakers plot education funding overhaul.


"This has been hell. There’s no other word that describes it."

—Erie School Board President Jay Breneman on long COVID symptoms he experienced after contracting the disease in the summer of 2022
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RICHEST LITTLE CITY: Join us Thursday from 6-7:15 p.m. on Zoom for a free panel on the corruption case rocking this small Pennsylvania city and how local government can protect against wrongdoing. Register for the event here and submit your questions to events@spotlightpa.org

Sunday on the Schuylkill River Trail in Berks County, via Tim B. Send us your photos by email, use #PAGems on IG, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.

A snowy trail cut between two tree-covered hillsides.
Today's top news story in Pennsylvania.'HUMAN ERROR': Thousands of records, including evidence logs from Pennsylvania State Police, were deleted from state servers at the start of the year — the result of a “human error,” Spotlight PA reports. Most were recovered, but the remainder may not be.

Today's second top news story in Pennsylvania.CAPITOL BRIEFS: Embattled Easton Council Member Taiba Sultana will primary state Rep. Robert Freeman (D., Northampton); attorney Jason Landau Goodman will primary Rep. Mary Jo Daley (D., Montgomery); and scaffolding is up for state House roof repairs.
Today's third top news story in Pennsylvania.POLL NUMBERS: Susquehanna Polling & Research has U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D., Pa.) up 3.8 points over Republican Dave McCormick. McCormick's primary challenger, Brandi Tomasetti, told Capital-Star "'MAGA Republicans' are the new Republican Party."
Today's fourth top news story in Pennsylvania.UPMC 'MONOPSONY': A class-action suit accuses UPMC of using "monopsony power" to suppress worker wages and cut health services. Unions filed an antitrust complaint against the health giant last year, citing "sub-competitive pay" and poor conditions.

Today's fifth top news story in Pennsylvania.ABSENTEE LANDLORDS: Out-of-state buyers have snatched up more than a thousand houses in Allegheny County in recent years, turning many into rentals. But KDKA-TV found one private equity-backed owner with maintenance complaints and tax liens piling up.
  • RELATED: Pittsburgh City Council members back cutting red tape for affordable housing developments, via TribLIVE.
MYSTERY NOTES: Officials are aware of cryptic, conspiracy-laden notes found in parks and boxes of cereal in Pennsylvania. The Inquirer (paywall) reports no one’s been caught in the act of actually planting them.

OSCAR BUZZ: Pennsylvania is going to the Oscars. Philly-area natives Da'vine Joy Randolph, Colman Domingo, and Bradley Cooper are all nominated this year, Patch reports. The show airs March 10.

THE WINNERS: This isn't our first trip to the Oscars. Pennsylvania has claimed dozens of winners through the years. Here's a historical lookback, via PennLive's archives, from Frances McDormand to Trent Reznor.

FUEL FINDERS: Crews are preparing to remove the last bits of fuel from the Three Mile Island reactor where a partial nuclear meltdown happened in 1979, StateImpact reports. The process is slated to last until 2029.

COIN TOSS: Groundhog Day is coming, and PETA has a proposal: Ditch the marmot and go with an oversized coin toss instead.
Are you a Berks County resident? We're seeking community input! Join one of our upcoming Spotlight PA - Berks County listening sessions:

Feb. 21: 5:30-7:30 p.m. at West Lawn-Wyomissing Hills Library | Register Here

A listening session is an informal, small-group discussion in which we are seeking your thoughts, opinions, and concerns on local news coverage, information access, community information needs, and news consumption habits. Visit spotlightpa.org/berks for more information.
Unscramble and send your answer to scrambler@spotlightpa.org. We'll shout out winners here, and one each week will get some Spotlight PA swag. Answers submitted by 5:30 p.m. on issue date will be counted.

Yesterday's answer: Woodworking

Congrats to our daily winners: Eric F., Barbara F., Becky C., Bob C., Beth H., Don H., Judith D., Jessica K., Marty M., Jody A., Stacy S., Daniel M., Bruce B., Susan N.-Z., Stanley J., Beth T., Richard A., Jon W., Lynne E., Karen A., Tracy S., Kimberly D., Ronnee G., Kim C., Eddy Z., Rick W., Linda G., Jane R., Bill E., Ted W., Elaine C., Alan B., Daniel S., Marie B., Tish M., Mark C., Amelia M., Jeannine M., Antonia O., Barb M. S., William Z., Karen W., Tom M., Dan A., John P., Jerry G., Cosette J., Jeffrey F., Wendy A., Ada M., David T., and Amy D. S.
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