The Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA) called Friday for an investigation into charter schools’ receipt of gaming funds in the midst of a four-month state budget stalemate that has deprived public districts from state and federal funds.

Calling the funding strategy an “illegal raid on gaming funds held in trust for taxpayers,” PSBA appealed to the state’s auditor general and attorney general to explore the legality of the move.

Several charter schools throughout the state have petitioned the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) for relief since many school districts have opted to withhold tuition payments while they wait for state lawmakers and Gov. Tom Wolf to come up with a budget.

State law allows charter schools to appeal any non-payment of funds from school districts.  It also allows the state to dip into any fund — not just the education budget — to pay charters. In this case, PDE is tapping gaming revenues, the money the state uses from gambling proceeds to provide property tax relief to homeowners.

For Districts who have opted not to pay their charters during the state budget stalemate, charters have another option to secure their budgets.

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Alfred Maiello

Alfred C. Maiello is the founding member of MBM and has represented area school districts as solicitor for 50 years. He counsels school districts and educational institutions on leading developments in school law and guiding them through their day-to-day and long-term challenges.