Parents of students at cyber charter schools concerned they’ll have to pay

Local News

Monday night, the State College Area School District voted on a resolution that will go to state legislature.

The State College Area School District wants to stop paying money to cyber charter schools within the district’s borders, but some local parents say that will hurt more students than it will help.
Monday night, the State College Area school district unanimously approved a resolution to support senate bill 34 and house bill 526, which would end public school district payments to cyber charter schools.
The district says right now they’re required to pay 14,000 per student to cyber charter schools to cover costs for students that live in the district, but don’t attend public school.
They also have to pay 29,000 per year for special needs students attending cyber charter schools.
In all, that’s costing the public schools about $800,000 every year.
Randy Brown, Finance and Operations Manager, for the State College Area School District, says if the bills pass and they don’t have to pay cyber charter schools, they could use that money for needed areas in their schools.
“Additional psychologists, some counselors, some social workers, as well as expanding some additional technology opportunities,” Brown said.
But Jolene McLaughlin, Regional Representative for Central PA, with PA Cyber Charter School says she believes if the bills pass, parents won’t be able to afford to send their kids to her school and their children will suffer.

“We have a student’s assistance program, we have a guidance department, we have, we have a nurses, department,” McLaughlin, said.  “So, taking that away from a student that’s been thriving here in this environment, would just set them back in their education.”
Joy Barbara and her family live in State College.  She says her daughter Judith was dealing with bullying and needed more individual attention than she was getting in public school. 
That’s why she left for “PA Cyber Charter School”
She says she shouldn’t have to pay for her daughter to go to a State Cyber charter school, especially when she’s paying taxes that go to the state college area school district.
“We do pay taxes to the state college school district, because we live in State College,” Barbara, said.  “It would seem unfair that we would have to pay more to have school choice.”
Education committees in the Pennsylvania senate and house will look at this resolution before they vote.
After the committee vote, the full senate and house will vote. 
No word yet on how long that process is expected to take.

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