Cyber Charter Reform Could Finally Be Coming To Pennsylvania

Forbes by Peter Greene, July 9, 2023.

Pennsylvania has long been a wild west for cyber charter schools, but there could soon be a new sheriff in town. The House has passed a bill to put major reforms in place for how the Keystone State handles cyber charters.

In cyber charters, students go to school via an internet connection. Like all charter schools, they are privately owned and operated, but funded by taxpayer dollars taken from the public school district where the student would have attended. In Pennsylvania, that tuition cost is based on local per pupil expenditures and so varies wildly from district to district.

report released in January of 2022 by Children First found that of the 27 states with cyber charters, Pennsylvania spends the most (currently about $1.4 billion annually) but has the “weakest systems to ensure students and taxpayers are getting their money’s worth.” And taxpayers are not; reports repeatedly find that the cyber charters are underperforming.

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