House Education Committee to hold Hearing on Devastating Cyber Charter Legislation
March 13, 2013
On Thursday, March 14 at 10 AM, the House Education Committee will hold a hearing in the House Majority Caucus Room on proposed legislation that, if passed, will negatively impact the future of every Pennsylvania cyber charter school. Bills under consideration are:
HB 759 (Reese Bill)
Pennsylvania School Districts currently take 21 deductions in the PDE-363 from the average cost per student, which means charter schools of all types are already delivering high quality education for on average 70 percent of what taxpayers pay to the district (low of 52 percent, high of 80 percent). HB 759 proposes to add the three following additional and arbitrary deductions, none of which are based on the actual cost of providing a high quality cyber charter school education:
- 50 percent of any “cyber programs” offered by the district
- 50 percent of extracurricular costs
- 100 percent of all “district pupil services”
If passed, the consequences of HB 759 will be grave, forcing outstanding small cyber charters to close within a year and causing the larger cybers to make drastic cuts to student services and face closure in three years. Parental choice will be crippled, and children will be thrown back into school systems that have and will continue to fail them. In sum, HB 759 redefines those who have chosen a cyber charter school education as second class children, not worth the investment.
HB 617 and HB 618 (Emrick Bills)
These two bills also propose further and deeper funding cuts, addressing pension matters to include allowing school districts to deduct 100 percent of pension payments. HB 617 targets all charter schools, HB 618 applies strictly to cyber charters.
Thursday’s hearings will be divided into two separate panels. The first panel will include special interests representing teachers’ unions, school districts, school boards and other entities that support the three bills. The second session will include PCPCS Board Member Hon. Jeffrey Piccola, PA Virtual Charter School CEO Joanne Barnett, PA Families for Public Cyber Schools Vice President Selene Gentzler, and Charter Choices President Mike Whisman, CPA and PA Students First State Director Ashley DeMauro.