We recommend contacting Rep. Joe Markosic and ask him to sign on and get other members to support HB 934. Contact in Harrisburg: 717-783-1540 or local 412-856-8284.
Charter schools are public schools (PA Act 22, 1997), but with different requirements than traditional public schools. Charter-Cyber schools are approved by the local school districts and have unelected boards of directors without responsibility to local taxpayers.
Charter school proponents claim that charters outperform traditional public schools. This is false. Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) assessed using the 2012 PSSA’s showed that 61% of traditional PS made AYP. Charter schools initially attempted to use a less stringent method to calculate their AYP’s. The US DOE rejected this and PA was ordered to recalculate using the same criteria as traditional public schools.
Results: Initial Calculation Recalculation
Brick / Mortar
Charter schools 53% 30%
Cyber charter schools 8% 0%
These recalculated results are certainly not improved outcomes!
Local school districts pay charter schools the districts cost per student, even though charter costs are much less than district costs (PSBA, 2010, Executive Summary, # 1 below). This resultant difference is a “profit” for the cyber-charter at taxpayer expense. Of interest is that PA Cyber is currently under federal investigation for wrongdoing.
Gateway SD has a projected million dollar deficit for 2013-14 budget and anticipates paying $3.7 million to charter schools. This adds to our financial discomfort and must be addressed.
The PA House of Representatives is working toward reform of charter school regulations. The issues and recommended changes are presented in the ‘Comprehensive charter and cyber reform legislation’ enclosed (# 2 below).
This summary is an introduction to privatization of public education, often well funded by national interest groups with a stake in profit taking at taxpayer expense. Enclosed are 2 documents for more in-depth information:
Submitted: Oliver J. Drumheller, EdD, RRT - Gateway School Director