Blue Mountain officials lament cyber charter costs

Republican Herald by Emily Graham, October 22, 2021

ORWIGSBURG — The Blue Mountain school board discussed updates on enrollment and concerns about the cost of cyber charter schools. Across the elementary schools, there are 1,073 students as of Oct. 1, an increase of 26 students since June. The middle school had an increase of 18 students, for a total of 596, while the high school lost 63 students, dropping to 796. Districtwide, there are 2,487 students, down 17 from last year. There are currently 23 students within the district enrolled in charter schools and 84 students in cyber charter schools. The tuition rate for charter students is $12,012.26 per year for regular education, up $591.99 from last year, and $28,429.66 per year for special education, up $1,785 from last year. John Rohrer, director of the district’s virtual academy, said 140 students are enrolled in that program, which helps keep students from seeking virtual education elsewhere. “We had a lot of kids return to the building from cyber charters this year,” Rohrer said. “We had a lot of kids move from cyber charters to our virtual academy. I think that we’re doing a really good job with our virtual academy program to keep our kids in house.” The district spends $258,000 on the students enrolled in its virtual academy, which Rohrer said would cost the district $1.7 million if the students were enrolled in an outside cyber charter school.

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