EDITOR’S PICK: Superintendents call for charter school reform

Observer-Reporter by Karen Mansfield, July 25, 2022

School officials from five Southwestern Pennsylvania school districts gathered Friday for an online press conference to discuss the impact of inflated charter and cyberschool tuition payments in their districts and to call for changes to the commonwealth’s charter school laws.

The press conference was hosted by the Pennsylvania School Boards Association.

Tim Kantor, superintendent of Ligonier Valley School District in Westmoreland County, said the school district has paid $17,961,968 in cyber and charter school tuition since the 2011-12 school year. During that period, the school district – which has an operating budget of about $33.7 million – has raised taxes by 16.9 mills for about $24.7 million, with 72% of those tax increases going toward cyberschool costs. ….Pennsylvania school districts are spending more than $2.6 billion in taxpayer money on mandatory payments to cyber and brick-and-mortar charter schools, according to the PSBA. The costs of charter schools for school districts continue to grow significantly each year, with charter tuition paid by school districts up 327% over the last 13 years. During the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 22,600 students shifting to cyber charter schools at an additional statewide cost over $331 million, according to the PSBA.

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