Burns votes to save Cambria public school districts $3.7 million annually
Cyber charter reform bill protects local taxpayers
HARRISBURG, July 7 – Saying the move would save Cambria County’s 12 public school districts a colossal $3.7 million, state Rep. Frank Burns today voted to protect taxpayers and reform cyber charter school funding, with a keen eye on tax dollar accountability and operational fairness.
Burns, D-Cambria, said the time is right to reign in the unbridled money grab by corporate cyber charter schools, which are bleeding local school district budgets dry by siphoning off millions in local tax dollars. These schools frivolously spend those tax dollars advertising to recruit new students in order to increase their profits. They even sponsor professional sports teams and offer gifts and travel to their students’ parents.
“I’m not saying there isn’t a place for cyber schools in our education system. I’m saying the taxpayers should only pay the cost of educating a child instead of making the owners of these schools millionaires.” – Rep. Frank Burns
“Currently, the way cyber schools are funded has led to property tax increases with local taxpayer money going to out-of-town cyber schools,” Burns said.
Brick-and-mortar schools have fixed costs, such as heating, electricity, building maintenance and bus transportation. The state uses a funding formula to determine how much state money goes to a school district for each student. Cyber schools do not have those fixed costs yet receive the funding the school district would have gotten, leaving districts with budget shortfalls.
“My vote also was to level the playing field between traditional public schools and cyber charter schools – in terms of academics, ethics and cost – which is long overdue,” Burns added.
Burns said his support for H.B. 1422 was fueled by feedback from Pennsylvania’s public school districts, a whooping 467 of which passed resolutions urging cyber charter school funding and accountability reform.
“I’m not saying there isn’t a place for cyber schools in our education system,” Burns said. “I’m saying the taxpayers should only pay the cost of educating a child instead of making the owners of these schools millionaires.”