Montgomery County Superintendents Push PA Lawmakers to Reform Charter School Funding

Montgomery County charter schools
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Superintendents from all local counties pressed state lawmakers earlier this week to change the way in which charter schools are funded, warning that inaction might lead to program cuts and increase in the cost to taxpayers, writes Maddie Hanna for The Philadelphia Inquirer.

During pandemic-defined 2020, thousands more students throughout the state left traditional public schools for independently-run cyber charters. Now, superintendents from Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery counties are saying that changes to charter funding are more important than ever.

“We don’t want to be in a situation again where we’re looking to make sacrifices with our music, art, theater programs,” said Upper Darby Superintendent Dan McGarry.

He added that the continued rise in payments to charter schools “is something that we simply cannot sustain.”

School districts pay charter schools based on enrollment, with around 82 percent of districts identifying charter payments as one of their biggest budget pressures.

Superintendents are backing Governor Tom Wolf’s proposal to establish a statewide tuition rate for cyber charter schools. They believe the pandemic has proven that the rates currently being paid are above what is needed to educate students online.

Read more about the funding issues in The Philadelphia Inquirer.