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Local school districts seek reform to Pa. charter school laws

McVEYTOWN — Superintendents from Fulton, Huntingdon, Mifflin and Juniata County School Districts will join the Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools in calling for reforms to Pennsylvania’s charter school law.

Tuscarora Intermediate Unit 11 will host a public meeting at 11 a.m. Jan. 27 in which administrators from more than a half-dozen area school districts will be present.

They will join members of the Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools in 152 school districts encompassing 34 counties and 16 intermediate units in holding press conferences during the week of January 27 to 31.

The press conference will call attention to the urgent need of reforms to Pennsylvania’s charter school law and to share the adverse impact that inflated charter and cyber charter school tuition payments have on students and taxpayers in their communities.

According to a press release, charter schools are primarily funded by local tax dollars paid to them as tuition by school districts.

Charter and cyber charter school tuition payments have an adverse fiscal impact on school districts, often causing them to cut services and/or to raise tax rates.

Under current law, state-mandated tuition rates for cyber charter students and for special education students in both brick-and-mortar and cyber charter schools are not based on actual costs, but instead are based on a broken formula that creates inflated tuition payments to charter and cyber charter schools and wastes taxpayer money.

The wasteful spending and harm experienced by students and communities would be curbed by setting a single, statewide tuition rate for cyber charter schools and matching special education tuition rates with the actual cost of services for students with disabilities in charter schools.

Speakers are calling on parents, staff, and community members to contact local legislators and ask them to enact funding reforms to Pennsylvania’s charter school law that include matching payments school districts make to charter schools with the actual cost of educating these students.

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