Bethel Park calling for cyber and charter school funding reform

Published Apr 18, 2013 at 4:59 pm (Updated Apr 18, 2013 at 4:59 pm)

Bethel Park School Board members are expected to vote April 23 to approve a resolution calling for the reform of the commonwealth’s charter and cyber school funding.

Public schools must pay for each of their students who attend charter and cyber charter schools and have, in the past, received some reimbursement from the state.

Gov. Tom Corbett eliminated cyber school reimbursements from the state budget in the 2011-2012 school year.

According to the Pennsylvania State Education Association website, since the 2010-2011 school year, the Bethel Park School District has lost $132,642 in state charter school reimbursements.

Districts across the state have experienced similar cuts, as well as cuts in other programs previously funded by the state, and many districts are passing similar resolutions as the one purposed by the Bethel Park board and are urging residents to contact their state lawmakers.

“I support long-overdue reform to the charter and cyber charter funding formula in the school code,” said state Sen. Matt Smith (D-37th District). “A report put out last year by the auditor general’s office reported that reforms could save taxpayers over $365 million annually, while still preserving quality public education for all students.”

Bethel Park resident John DeLallo spoke in favor of the reform during a Bethel Park School Board committee meeting earlier this week.

DeLallo said he could not understand why cyber charter schools, which have no actual buildings to maintain, need the high reimbursements.

“If you want your children to go to cyber and charter schools, don’t take it out of my wallet,” he said. “The (state) 1834 Public Education Act has served us well.”

In other action, the board voted to change the date of its May committee meeting from May 21 to May 22. The change was made because of the May 21 primary election.

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