Charter school advocates criticize funding proposal for special education in Pennsylvania
Two companion bills aiming to reallocate special education funding in Pennsylvania are under fire because of how they would distribute those funds to charter schools. Charter school advocates argue that the bills would decrease funding for their special education students and hinder their ability to provide adequate student care. But supporters of the legislation maintain that charters are dramatically overfunded now compared to traditional public schools. About 2,930 students receive special education services in Western Pennsylvania's 25 charter schools. Statewide, charters enroll 15,312 special students.
Luzerne County school districts paid $3.8 million to charter schools in special-education tuition in 2012-13, and a group of education associations pushing for reform contend that was likely double what the charters spent. “We are here to address the inaccuracies and hyperbole perpetuated by the charter school community on the impact of legislation” that would alter the formula used to determine how much charters get for special-education students, Jay Himes said at the start of a web conference Tuesday.
Unless state funding determines otherwise, Greater Latrobe School District residents could pay about $26 more in property taxes next year. In a presentation to the school board this week, business administrator Dan Watson said he and the finance committee recommended the approval of a proposed budget for 2014-15 of slightly more than $51 million with a 1 mill tax increase. One mill would provide about $335,000 for the district. The average assessed value of a home in the district is $25,861, Watson said.
Minority communities are unfairly targeted for school closures, according to complaints filed this week with the U.S. Department of Education's civil rights office and the U.S. Department of Justice. The Advancement Project, a civil rights advocacy group based in
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