School Choice Policies

Charter School Choice

Does the state have charter schools?

Are for-profit charter schools or management companies allowed?


'''Charter school' shall mean an independent public school established and operated under a charter from the local board of school directors and in which students are enrolled or attend. A charter school must be organized as a public, nonprofit corporation. Charters may not be granted to any for-profit entity."

We did not find mention of whether charters can contract with for-profit management companies. Education Commission of the States states that charter schools may not be operated by for-profit entities. However, a Pennsylvania policy expert stated that charters can contract with for-profit management companies.

Section 1703-A. Definitions.

Education Commission of the States: 50-State Comparison

Is there a cap on the number of charter schools?

Did not find-

We did not find information about caps on charter schools in Pennsylvania statutes. Education Commission of the States states that Pennsylvania does not have caps on charters. Additionally, a Pennsylvania policy expert stated that there are no caps on charter schools.

Education Commission of the States 50-State Comparison

Are charters required to provide transportation for any students?


"Students who attend a charter school located in their school district of residence, a regional charter school of which the school district is a part or a charter school located outside district boundaries at a distance not exceeding ten (10) miles by the nearest public highway shall be provided free transportation to the charter school by their school district of residence."

Transportation is not required for elementary students, including kindergarten students, residing within 1.5 miles or secondary students residing within 2 miles of the nearest public highway from the charter school (unless the school district provides transportation to public schools kids meeting those distance requirements).

"In the event that the Secretary of Education determines that a school district is not providing the required transportation to students to the charter school, the Department of Education shall pay directly to the charter school funds for costs incurred in the transportation of its students."

Section 1726-A. (a) - (b): Transportation

Can charter schools employ uncertified teachers?


At least 75% of the professional staff members of a charter school shall hold appropriate state certification.

Section 1724-A. (a) School Staff

Virtual School Choice

Do state statutes allow for full-time virtual schools?


Pennsylvania statutes allow for cyber charter schools.

Section 17-1741-A through Section 17-1751-A Cyber Charter Schools.

Are virtual schools required to track attendance?


A charter must specify in its application how the cyber charter school will define and monitor a student's school day.

Section 1747-A. (7) Cyber charter school application

Do virtual schools have to comply with state teacher certification requirements?

Did not find

Private School Choice

Does the state have voucher programs?


No voucher programs found.

EdChoice School Choice in America

Does the state have educational expense tuition tax credits or deductions?


No educational expense tax credits or deductions found.

EdChoice School Choice in America

Can students use vouchers to attend religious schools?

Not Applicable

Is there a cap on the number of students or private schools participating in voucher programs?

Not Applicable

Are voucher students in private schools required to take any standardized tests?

Not Applicable

Can private schools be removed from voucher programs based on performance?

Not Applicable

Are private schools in voucher programs required to provide transportation?

Not Applicable

Interdistrict School Choice

Does the state have interdistrict choice programs?


The board of school directors of any school district may permit any non-resident students to attend the public schools in its district upon such terms as it may determine.

Section 1316. Permitting Attendance of Non-resident Pupils.

Are receiving schools or districts required to provide transportation to any students?

Did not find

Page last updated: December 2020

Click here to download the State Policy Spreadsheet. Click here to download the State Policy Map Data Memo.

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The State Policy Map provides a snapshot of school choice policy found in laws passed by the legislative bodies, for all 50 states and Washington, D.C., based on information gathered from state statutes in fall 2019; data checks continued through December 2020. Information on this site may not include the most up-to-date policy information. The State Policy Map does not systematically reflect state Department of Education administrative policies, rules, or regulations. All content on this site is provided for informational purposes only. Links to third-party websites are for the user’s convenience; neither REACH nor any affiliated entities endorse the contents of third-party sites.

Note: On June 30, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Montana's exclusion of religious schools from the state's tax credit scholarship program was unconstitutional (Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue 591). The responses to the question "Can students use vouchers to attend religious schools?" were collected before this ruling and therefore do not reflect any changes resulting from the Espinoza decision.