Letter to Pennsylvania’s State Elected Officials
Dear (NAME OF STATE ELECTED OFFICIAL):
I am seeking your support of common sense charter school funding reform so that Pennsylvania tax dollars are used to educate our students, including those with special needs. Two major funding issues are severely impacting the budgets of all 500 school districts across the commonwealth and subsequently diverting much needed funding from our students.
First, I am urging you to pass legislation that sets a statewide cyber charter tuition rate. Currently, cyber charter schools receive the same tuition payments that brick-and-mortar charter schools do. And they receive 500 different tuition rates instead of one rate based on the costs to educate students virtually. Passing legislation that sets a statewide cyber charter tuition rate of $9,500 per student would mean school districts would have more than $130 million each year to invest in students and classrooms.
Second, I am urging you to pass legislation that applies the special education funding formula to charter school special education payments. School districts are forced to pay charter school special education rates based on an outdated formula that directs more money to charter schools than is needed to provide special education services. This means school districts have less money to spend on their special education students while charter schools are able to use the additional revenue for anything they want, including advertising and CEO salaries. Applying the special education formula to charter school special education payments will return more than $99 million to school districts to address the needs of special education students attending traditional public schools.
Thanks for your support of quality education for all students.