Lancaster Online by Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Noe Ortega, July 20, 2021
Every Pennsylvania student deserves a good education, and every student in Pennsylvania deserves an education that works best for them. While Pennsylvania has some great charter schools, other charter schools are not providing an education that prepares students for success in life. Some companies that manage charter schools put taxpayer-funded profits ahead of students and their families. These schools are costing taxpayers exorbitant amounts of money while providing a poor education and leaving our students behind. Charter schools are public schools. Our tax dollars fund these schools. And we must hold charter schools accountable to taxpayers and to the same standards as all other public schools. In 2021, taxpayers will spend almost $3 billion for charter schools. Our local school districts are required by law to pay every charter school serving students in their area. That means that local property taxpayers ultimately foot the bill when costs are unreasonable. Only about 9% of students are in a charter school, but within the next year, $1 in every $5 paid in local property taxes will go to cover charter school costs. That’s billions of your school tax dollars that school boards and the public do not control or even know how charter schools spend. And as charter school costs go up, it drains funding from regular public school classrooms, forces cuts to educational programs and causes tax hikes.
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