Reason #3 to Oppose SB 1085

Susan Spicka is co-founder of our sister group, Education Matters in the Cumberland Valley. This week, they have been publishing her top-five list of reasons our state senators need to be paying close attention to the current charter “reform” bill, SB 1085. If we citizens do not take the time to contact our senators and educate them about this bill, it will very likely pass. Why? As Susan explains, SB 1085 appears to offer school districts some short-term savings in pension payments and cyber charter tuition. We desperately need real reform in these two areas, but the proposed savings in this bill are truly minimal and will not begin to offset the increased costs to districts if the state allows dramatic charter expansion. It’s our job to help our Senators see that the policy failures in SB 1085 far outweigh any savings.

Reason #3 Our State Senators Should Oppose SB 1085

The Charter School Funding Advisory Commission considers ONLY charter school needs.

The proposed Charter School Funding Advisory Commission is heavily stacked in favor of charter schools and is prohibited by law from considering the fiscal impact of charter school growth on local communities. (ELC_CharterBillAnalysis_SB1085_10_29_13)

This is an insult to Pennsylvania’s taxpayers.

Charter schools are not “tuition-free” as ubiquitous Internet ads proclaim. In fact, Pennsylvania taxpayers spend more than $1 billion on charter school tuition payments every year.

Increased charter school growth will necessarily result in increased education costs in our local communities. Average charter school tuition is very roughly $10,000 per student per year. A new charter school with 400 students will create a brand new $4 million per year cost for taxpayers in that community. The new cost will be in addition to what taxpayers are already spending to support their traditional public schools. This is something that taxpayers in most communities, frankly, cannot afford right now.

Legislators who are willing to consider only the needs of charter schools demonstrate a complete disregard for Pennsylvania’s taxpayers, who are already struggling to pay ever-increasing property tax bills.

Any charter school funding commission MUST be charged with finding the best, most efficient way to use precious taxpayer dollars to pay for and strengthen our entire public school system. It must not consider only the needs of charter schools.

Please contact your senator here and urge him or her to oppose SB 1085. Feel free to cut and paste this message:

Please oppose SB 1085 because the Charter School Funding Advisory Commission in the bill is prohibited by law from considering the impact of charter school growth on the communities that you represent.

The taxpayers you represent will be responsible for paying the charter school tuition bills of students in our communities who attend these schools. It is irresponsible for our state government to pass a law that completely disregards the financial impact charter school growth will have on taxpayers, who are already struggling to pay property tax bills to support the schools we have now.

Any charter school funding advisory group MUST be charged with finding the best, most efficient way to use precious taxpayer dollars to pay for and strengthen our entire public school system. It must not consider only the needs of charter schools.

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