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05/20/2024 06:01 PM
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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: May 20, 2021 10:13 AM
From: Representative Rosemary M. Brown
To: All House members
Subject: Special Education Cyber / Charter School Funding
In the near future, I plan on introducing legislation which would implement the bipartisan 2013 Special Education Funding Commission’s recommendation for applying the same special education funding principles used to distribute state special education funding to school districts, in the calculation used to determine a school district’s tuition payment for a special education student enrolled in a charter school.

As the Commission noted in their final report, “(t)he existing (charter school special education)funding process is flawed, using an assumed (special education population)percentage of 16 percent of all children enrolled in the district of residence and paying the same rate regardless of student differences in educational need and cost.”  These flaws result in school districts sending an inflated one-size fits-all tuition payment to charter schools which is in excess of what charter schools spend to educate individual special education students.  Estimates on the amount of this overpayment exceed $100 million in taxpayer resources.

Because these flaws have yet to be addressed, the Commission’s recommendation that the legislature apply the same principles of the currently implemented special education funding formula for school districts for all local education agencies, including charter schools and cyber charter schools is still particularly relevant.  Implementing these recommendations will not only improve the accuracy and fairness of funding distribution for charter schools and cyber charter schools, but also conserve precious special education resources.  In the spirit of supporting all education models and educational choices for parents, guardians and students, it is critical that we ensure fairness as much as possible and these education entities work together for Pennsylvania families. 

Introduced as HB1749