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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: May 27, 2020 11:37 AM
From: Representative Joshua D. Kail
To: All House members
Subject: School District Monetary Offers to Charter School Families
Please join me by co-sponsoring legislation that I plan to introduce in the near future to prohibit school districts from using financial incentive programs to lure charter school students back to the district. 
Recently, the Coatesville Area School District (CASD) sent an email offering a $1,000 “academic stipend”, over two years, to students in their district currently attending a cyber charter or brick-and-mortar charter school students if they enroll in the Coatesville Cyber Academy for the 2020-2021 school year.  According to the District, this stipend can be used for the purchase of educational supplies, materials, and supports to enhance the learning experience of CASD’s virtual students.  However, there is no mention of how the District will ensure that this taxpayer-funded stipend will be used for educational materials or services.   
In 2019, the Pottsville Area School District (PASD) sent a mailing to parents of charter school students in their district advertising the PASD’s Tide Virtual Campus and offering a taxpayer-funded $100 gift card to any student who would leave their charter school and enrolls in Tide Virtual Campus.  According to the PASD, this gift card could be used on educational items such as books, school supplies, tutoring, or educational field trips. This promotion was only valid for students transferring from either cyber or brick-and-mortar charter school, but not for current PASD students who wanted to partake in the virtual program. 
These attempts by school districts to attract students back into the district is an improper, blatant misuse of taxpayer funds and should be stopped immediately.   Money that is collected to support the education of students should not be spent on gift cards or stipends that will be used to bribe parents into changing schools.
Competition in PA’s public education system benefits students and should not be stifled.  We have seen that brick-and-mortar charter schools have forced school districts to innovate and improve their outcomes for students.  We have also seen that competition from cyber charter schools have spurred school districts to enter the 21st Century and create their own virtual programs to adapt to unique student needs.  That being said, school districts and charter schools need to rely on their academic offerings, student outcomes, expert staff and safe environments to attract students to their schools.  We should not allow any public school to entice students to their school by offering them monetary incentives. 
I respectfully ask that you join me in taking action to end the practice of bribing public school students to attend their local school district and ensure taxpayer dollars are being used to educate students by signing on to this co-sponsorship memo.