Pennsylvania Charter Schools receive their full allotment of PSERS money from the student’s home school district through the charter school funding formula (form 363). In addition, they get to reimburse half of their PSERS costs from the state. This is a “double dip” and unfair to allow charter schools to take tax dollars twice for the same cost(s).
PA Charter Schools receive only 70-80% of the money that is spent by the home school district on the same student. Before the money follows the student to his or her charter school, the home school district is allowed to deduct 21 major categories of expenses before sending any money to the charter school (7 allowed by statute and 14 added by the PA Department of Education). (education.state.pa.us)
In addition, the money that is sent to a charter school is based on the expenditures of the previous year in the home school district (usually 1-5% less per student).
Since the charter school law was created, no additional resources have been given to charter schools. The FICA reimbursement to charters has been taken away.
Add to that the fact that home school districts have 90% of the taxpayer’s money in the bank before school begins in the fall. The charter school receives its money for the enrolled student anywhere from one to six months after they enroll. This forces the charter school operate off of lines of credit while the home school district is drawing interest off of the tax dollars collected.
Even if charter schools were to concede that the current Senate Bill (1085) fixed the so called “double dip” (it only partially fixes this issue), it is unfair to pick on the only item in the funding formula that harms charter schools and ignore all other inequities that, if addressed, could potentially help charter schools. (SB 1085) sets up a Funding Commission to address all inequities. Why is Senate Bill 1085 trying to fix a small one sided portion of the funding formula before the Commission is established?
In Philadelphia, charter schools outperform their district counterparts — the average score for charter schools is 66.9; 57.5 for district schools – a difference of 16.3%. They do this with 20% less money, delayed money, as startup organizations and with no taxing authority to raise revenues if they fall short financially.
Governor Corbett in his budget address wants to provide an additional $400 million to schools and programs that are working. Why is the PA Senate, with SB 1085, seeking to cut funding by 4-8% to these very same successful schools?
MYTH / TRUTH prepared by:
Dr. James Hanak, CEO, PA Leadership (Cyber) Charter School