Regarding the Feb. 8 editorial, "Pennsylvania charter reform proposal a good start," the author fails to mention some key facts, and in doing so presents a misleading picture of the proposed charter school legislation.

It is true that "school districts often have costs not shared by charter schools -- especially cybers," but charter schools, and especially cybers, have costs that school districts do not have. The proposed legislation does not take any of that reality into consideration but rather suggests arbitrary percentage deductions that have absolutely no basis in fact.

Cyber schools have students in approximately 400 of the 500 districts in the state and must maintain learning centers to support all of them and pay for teachers and facilities to conduct testing statewide. Districts do not.

Cybers have costs associated with an elaborate network infrastructure that districts do not have.

Cyber are required by federal law to provide services for which the proposed legislation would deny funding.

Districts are permitted to deduct for transportation of cyber students to and from school -- a cost which districts never incur.

Half of the districts in the state flatly refuse to pay cyber schools, causing the cybers to borrow money, and pay interest, to continue operation of the schools for several months until funds are redirected from the state.

And all of this on top of an existing formula that provides charters with only between 52 percent and 80 percent of the per student tax dollars being paid to the district by the taxpayers.


The editorial questions the wide disparity in funding for cybers based on the district costs but glosses over the fact that, if there is an inequity, it is caused by a more fundamental inequity among districts, which doesn't seem to bother the writer.

While the Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools agrees that the charter school law is badly in need of updating, the current proposed package, if passed as is, will cripple and eventually kill every high-quality cyber school in this state at the expense of the children and families who see this option as the best hope for their children's future. We can do better.

Robert Fayfich

Executive director

Pennsylvania Coalition

of Public Charter Schools