PSBA is disappointed with the decision made by Common Pleas Court Judge Chad F. Kenney to reject the financial recovery plan proposed by the state for the Chester-Upland School District that would implement needed corrections to the overpayments being made to charter schools for special education services. These changes would have paved the way for the school district to end its $22 million deficit and appropriately align the payments being made with district pays to charters for the services actually rendered to students. The plan also would have placed a cap on overpayments to cyber charter schools.

“While this case is unique to the Chester-Upland School District, the fact is that all school districts are impacted by charter and cyber charter schools expenses, and statewide reforms need to be enacted,” said PSBA Executive Director Nathan Mains. “Charter schools continue to rely on emotionally charged rhetoric, ignoring the facts about the impact of the current flawed calculation because it allows them to profit at the expense of school districts and taxpayers.”

The amount of regular and special education tuition paid to the cyber or charter school by the student’s resident school district fails to consider actual costs of services provided by the charter schools. These tuition inequities are never resolved because charter schools do not reconcile tuition payments with actual costs at year-end and return overages to the resident school district, nor does the law limit charter school general fund reserves.

Further, not including charter schools in the new special education funding formula enacted last year creates a double standard by which a charter school and a traditional public school receive different amounts of funding to educate the same child. This system must apply equally to charter schools just as it applies to school districts.

PSBA is a strong advocate for charter school reform and seeks comprehensive and meaningful changes so that all schools receiving public funds are required to meet the same financial, academic and ethical accountability standards.

Alfred C. Maiello
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.