In Pa. hearing, charter schools contest potential change in funding levels

    Pennsylvania charter school groups are giving bad grades to legislative proposals that would reduce what they receive in funding from their local school districts.

    The proposals at the center of debate would allow school districts to eliminate a portion of the overall per-student tuition they pay to publicly funded, privately run schools.

    Even the parts of the legislation that would throw a bone to charter schools aren’t enough, says Jeff Piccola, a former state senator who spoke to a House committee on behalf of the Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools.

    He says those bones, which would give the schools longer charter terms and allow them to be paid directly by the state Department of Education, are outweighed by other proposals to make cuts to their funding.

    “It’s kind of like mortally wounding a person and then expecting them to be grateful for a nice funeral,” Piccola said.

    Charters and school districts also differ on what the proposed reforms would cost.

    A cyber-charter school CEO told lawmakers they should wait for a full analysis of what it takes to educate students in a cyber-charter school model before considering changes that would cut their funding.

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