Myth Busting Cyber Charter Schools: Part 1

cyber_Charter_School_Funding_Myth

Where does cyber school funding come from?

There are plenty of myths about the state of cyber education in Pennsylvania. Many families who are interested in alternative education, but may not be able to afford private or parochial options are turning to cyber charters as a solution. This series of blogs aims to answer many of the questions that our enrollment department hears on a daily basis.

Up first, is the common myth that charter schools – both brick and mortar and cyber schools – deprive or steal funding from your local school district. Cyber charter schools are part of the public education system in Pennsylvania. Let’s take a look at how education funding in PA is distributed:

  • PA is one of several states that does not have a mandating funding formula. The current legislature admits that the system is flawed for all schools not just charters.
  • Cyber charters are not immune to funding challenges inherent in the existing model. Our students are just as affected as any other students by the disparity of resources in public education because they come to PA Virtual from traditional school districts. During the recent budget impasse, several school districts elected to stop paying charter schools as a way to save money, instead of focusing on educating students equally.
  • Additionally, both charter and cyber charter schools are funded according to fluctuating calculations based on Average Daily Membership (ADM), which is the number of students enrolled, and the per-pupil expenditure rate in each sending district. School districts may take deductions outlined by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE), such that only 60 to 80 percent of that per-pupil sum follows a student to a cyber charter school. 
  • Since the per-pupil allotment varies greatly from district to district, the amount of money cyber charter schools receive for each student varies tremendously. 
  • Of the top ten school districts with the highest enrollment of students at PA Virtual, we receive less than one percent of the school district’s budget.

Cyber education is a tuition- free public school option – the district sends a portion of your child’s per pupil allotment directly to the charter school of your choice, at no additional cost to you.

Feel free to share your thought about this topic with us!

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