HARRISBURG – Working to address flaws in the way Pennsylvania’s cyber charter and charter schools are funded, Rep. Mario Scavello (R-Monroe) joined a group of bipartisan lawmakers and education in the state Capitol to unveil legislation which would ensure greater taxpayer protection and accountability of cyber charter and charter schools.
“Flaws under the current charter school funding and accountability law are costing our local taxpayers districts too much money,” said Scavello. “I support House Bill 2364 because it puts the funding of cyber charter and charter schools on an equal playing field with other public schools and makes sure that every student in the state is treated and funded equally.”
Under House Bill 2364, the current funding formula used to determine school district tuition payments for students who attend charter and cyber charter schools would be changed to remove the “double dip” for pension costs which are not now subtracted from district expenditures, ultimately saving taxpayers an estimated half billion dollars within five years.
Measures in this legislation would also eliminate non-instructional services from tuition payments, including athletic funds, non-public school programs and services, and the tuition payments themselves as they are unrelated to operational costs; as well as limit unassigned fund balances and make them consistent with traditional public schools.
More than 105,000 students are currently enrolled in charter and cyber charter schools throughout the Commonwealth, but regulation and guidance of these schools have gone largely unaddressed, said Scavello.
For instance, under the current funding formula, a large proportion of local education dollars are sent to Internet-based cyber charter schools, even if those schools are based hundreds of miles away from the local district.
“At a time when public school districts are laying off teachers and threatening to cut education programs, it’s important that our local tax dollars are being fairly distributed. Pension contributions over the next few years are only going to give more money to charter schools, if this flawed system isn’t fixed,” said Scavello.