By Dom Giordano

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Speaker of the House of Pennsylvania, Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) talked with WPHT midday host Dom Giordano about the proposed $35 million donation by Philadelphia School Partnership (PSP) to assist in increasing the number of charter schools in Philadelphia.

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“The focus should be on the kids. It’s not about the cost of the school district or court decisions. Parents and grandparents have seen the success of charter schools in Philadelphia. Sixty-thousand of the 200,000 kids are in charter schools right now. They are in safe schools.” said Turzai.

While the city of Philadelphia originally was not even accepting any new applications for charter schools, a law recently was passed that forced them to and mandated that they install an appeal process. With the deadline for schools to apply coming up on February 18th, so far 39 charter schools have applied and Turzai expects a large portion of them to pass.

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“We are expecting the School Reform Commission to approve those quality charters in those applications, because families want it. More than 30,000 kids could have an opportunity right at their footstep if the School Reform Commission makes the right decision and PSP is trying to help support that.”

Turzai says that the $35 million would help the transition for up to 39 new charter schools.

“Keep in mind that charter schools actually cost less than the traditional public schools. So, in the long run they save the school district money and it’s about the kids. These charter schools are saving children’s lives.”

He supports the people at PSP because he feels that “these are great people who care.”

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“These are people who want to see kids who don’t have a lot of breaks in their lives, low-income families in tough neighborhoods some times, to be able to go to a safe school with a great learning environment with discipline and love and support and the notion that they can make a difference.”