PCPCS News

PA Families Protest Funding Cuts to Public Charter School Students and Special Education

Gov. Wolf’s proposed funding cuts would “devastate” students

HARRISBURG (Feb. 4, 2021) – Governor Tom Wolf’s attack on public charter school students and his plan to cut funding for special education services for charter students drew condemnation from public charter school families across Pennsylvania.

“Governor Wolf’s proposal to cut special education funding for charter school students will devastate my son. While the governor may call them ‘savings’ they are not. These are massive direct cuts to mostly Black and Brown children in Philadelphia. In the name of equity, the governor is cutting half the funding of our most vulnerable students like my son. How is that equitable?” – Crystal, Mastery Charter School parent, Philadelphia

“They shouldn’t cut funding because in doing so they’re setting the children who need it up for failure.”  – Tiffany, PA Virtual Cyber Charter School parent, Delaware County

In his budget address, Wolf called for cutting $229 million per year in public charter school funding. He called for a new funding system for special education that would slash $99 million in special education funding for charter school students. He also called for cutting $130 million per year from public cyber charter school students.

Here are some more comments from parents across Pennsylvania:

“As parents, we need to continue to be advocates for our children and be their voice when they can’t be a voice for themselves at a young age. My son is smart, comical, loves to draw, funny, intelligent – yes, has a short attention span – talks ALOT and fast, is very atypical, empathetic and loves everyone he comes in contact with. Honestly, I don’t know where we would be at this moment without CCA.”  – Bobby, Commonwealth Charter Academy (CCA )parent, Luzerne County

“Being a special needs mom is lonely, but I can walk into SCSC and receive a very warm welcome, even though my children are difficult. At the district school my parenting was questioned daily, and my child was just another ‘bad’ kid. SCSC provides the support in educating and raising my children that I never received in the district school. Those who have a solid and fluid special education model and stellar track record of success in special education, like SCSC, should not have funding taken away from them.” – Danielle, Souderton Charter School Collaborative (SCSC) parent, Montgomery County

“Since enrolling at PA Cyber Charter School, as a whole, our family is thriving on a very deep level. The incredible changes we’ve seen in both our special needs children in just five months has been amazing. From PA Cyber’s fantastic staff and teachers, to their tech support teams and the third-party agencies, which provide my kids with their occupational and speech therapies, right down to the school librarian; we’ve had nothing but good experiences. Despite these uncertain times, it’s been a beautiful process to watch our kids blossom and form strong bonds in an outside of the classrooms. So, why take all this away from us?” – Lisa, PA Cyber Charter School parent, Lehigh County.

“Cutting special education funding for cyber schools is a horrible idea! My son has had so much more help and encouragement through these services at PA Virtual than he ever had at our local school district. It is shameful that Governor Wolf and the members of the General Assembly would even consider cutting funding for cyber schools in this manner. They would be penalizing the families of special needs children who have chosen to utilize a cyber school instead of a more traditional model.” – Laura, PA Virtual Cyber Charter School parent, Crawford County

“We choose a cyber charter school because of the one-on-one attention our son gets when he is struggling on a topic. Not once has a CCA teacher failed to assist and help our son.” – Patricia, CCA parent, Cumberland County

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Media Contact: Jess Hickernell / j.hickernell@pacharters.org

The Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools created the 143K Rising movement to give charter school families a voice in their children’s future. To schedule an interview with a charter school parent, please contact Jess Hickernell at PCPCS.