Pa. auditor general says charter schools overfunded

Charters schools are getting too much money — that’s the conclusion of Pennsylvania Auditor General Jack Wagner. A report from Wagner’s office recommends cutting per-pupil funding for Pennsylvania charters and cyber charters down to the national average — which would mean cuts of thousands of dollars per student in the commonwealth. Wagner’s report says charters receive more than their operations cost to operate.

“There are connection costs for cyber charter schools,” just like brick and mortar schools, says Jim Hanak, founder of the cyber charter Penn Leadership Charter School.

“It’s called a computer high-speed Internet line and all the technology needed to support all of that,” Hanak said. “And in addition cyber charter school do have buildings.”

Local school districts argue charters are sapping funding from their budgets. Some have tried forming their own cyber schools to compete with charters.

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Wagner’s study said Pennsylvania could save $365 million with reductions to per-pupil spending and retirement contributions for teachers.Philadelphia School District representatives and city teachers union members did not return calls for comment.

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