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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: April 23, 2019 09:59 AM
From: Representative Stephen McCarter
To: All House members
Subject: Moratorium on the Creation of New Cyber Charter Schools

It is estimated that students attending cyber charter schools perform far below their public school peers and most cyber charter school students lose the equivalent of 72 days of learning in reading and 180 days of learning in math during the typical 180-day school year. Yet, despite dismal academic records and a sensational financial scandal, cyber charter schools divert more than $450 million annually from Pennsylvania’s public schools.

As many cyber charter schools are run by for-profit management companies, money that should be directed to our public school system instead lands in the hands of shareholders and executives, or is used for TV ads and billboards and not students. An appalling example of this was the recent revelation that one Pennsylvania cyber charter program used taxpayer money to pay for a lavish condominium and a corporate jet.

Despite mounting concerns regarding the financial practices of cyber charter schools and the effectiveness of the cyber charter system, Pennsylvania continues to expand the number of cyber charter school programs in operation. With 15 programs, Pennsylvania cyber charter schools enroll 35,000 students, which is nearly one-fifth of all cyber school students in the United States, even though it is only 2% of Pennsylvania school students suffering as taxpayers pay increased amounts of money to expand the failing cyber charter system. That is why I am introducing legislation to enact a moratorium on the creation of any new cyber schools in Pennsylvania until we have sufficiently reviewed their funding, operations, and performance.

Help to ensure our tax dollars benefit all students instead of funneling money to a broken cyber charter school system by co-sponsoring this important legislation.

Introduced as HB1449