Ciresi says it’s time for an early spring for taxpayers and students

ROYERSFORD, Feb. 2 – State Rep. Joe Ciresi recognized Groundhog Day not by talking about Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction of an early spring, but instead by calling to break the endless cycle of throwing money at cyber charter schools that keep failing students, taxpayers, and communities. 

“Bill Murray’s character in Groundhog Day spent almost 34 years replaying the same day, learning from his mistakes until he finally broke the cycle,” Ciresi said. “We’ve spent too many years in Pennsylvania advocating for change while we all keep overpaying for a broken cyber charter school system, letting for-profit companies take their cut of tax dollars before our kids get their share. It’s time to break the cycle by passing comprehensive reform.”

Ciresi’s solution, the Cyber Charter Reform Act (H.B. 1422), would end $455 million in annual overpayments to cyber charter schools, returning that money to taxpayers and traditional public schools by aligning special education funding to student needs and setting a standardized statewide tuition rate. The legislation would also require cyber charters to adhere to the same standards as other public schools, including transparency in spending, ethics and conflicts of interest requirements, and safeguards to ensure proper use of public funds.

The cyber charter reform bill passed in the House last year with bipartisan support but has not yet been considered by the Senate. Since then, more school districts across the state have passed resolutions urging the General Assembly to act on charter reform, bringing the total to 468 out of 500 school districts statewide.

“We’re telling taxpayers and students ‘I Got You, Babe’ and predicting a brighter future,” Ciresi said. “It’s time for the weather to clear and the dark clouds to part, by getting this reform passed. You can help by calling your state senator and tell them it’s time to break the Groundhog Day cycle with charter reform.”