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HARRISBURG (June 28, 2017) – After the Senate Education Committee amended a charter school bill today and removed an important cyber charter school funding reform that would have saved school districts and taxpayers $27 million a year, Pennsylvania State Education Association President Jerry Oleksiak issued the following statement.
“Before this amendment removed it, House Bill 97 included language aimed at solving a very important problem: changing the law to address school districts’ long-standing, legally required overpayments to cyber charter schools.
“For years, what school districts pay to cyber charter schools has been the same as the payments they make to “brick and mortar” charter schools, even though those payments are significantly higher than what it really costs to run a cyber charter school.
“The amendment ignores this important fact. And, now, the amended bill will erase $27 million in savings to school districts and local taxpayers and lock in this costly inequity.
“Charter schools and cyber charter schools have a place in our public education system. They’re here to stay. But we can’t have a system that forces local taxpayers to pay cyber charter schools more than what it costs to educate cyber charter students.
“This amendment is extremely disappointing, PSEA opposes it, and we hope that lawmakers will reconsider it, particularly because they were so close to addressing this important cyber charter school funding issue.”
Oleksiak is a special education teacher in the Upper Merion Area School District. An affiliate of the National Education Association, PSEA represents approximately 180,000 future, active and retired teachers and school employees, and health care workers in Pennsylvania.