Charter school funding formula under review in Pa.

    State House lawmakers are looking into reforming laws that govern Pennsylvania’s charter and cyber charter schools throughout the state.

    Part of the reform plans focus on the funding rules for those facilities.

    In a House Education Committee hearing Tuesday, testimony from the state auditor general’s office detailed the problems with how charter and cyber charter schools get paid.

    Money coming into charters isn’t lined up against money going out, said Deputy Auditor General Thomas Marks. He said there are too many chances for school districts to overpay charters as well.

    Marks also noted that in the current year’s budget, lawmakers cut state funding that previously went to school districts to cover their payments to charter schools.

    He says removing those funds doesn’t solve the problem of the charter school funding formula.

    Committee chairman Rep. Paul Clymer, R-Bucks, said his panel is in a tricky position.

    “We don’t want to create legislation that is going to hurt all the charter schools, because they serve a purpose,” he said. “That’s why they are growing. But at the same time there has to be some very close oversight.”

    The hearing, like many on the subject of education, included various references to cash-strapped school districts throughout the state, and how they’re feeling the pinch of required payments to charter and cyber charters.

    Charter school advocates point to state data showing that half of the commonwealth’s school districts with cyber students refuse to pay those cyber charters at all.

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