Snyder demands charter school reform following devastating cuts, furloughs in Brownsville Area School District

CARMICHAELS, July 1 – State Rep. Pam Snyder is urging her colleagues to immediately consider a bill to enact comprehensive cyber charter school reform, following news of a school district in her region that was forced to furlough several teachers and staffers.

Snyder, D-Greene/Fayette/Washington, said the Brownsville Area School District announced the furloughs at its school board meeting Monday. While the board said it hopes to rehire as many workers as possible before the beginning of the school year, she said this situation could have been avoided.

“Over the past three school years, the Brownsville Area School District has had to pay out $3 million to cyber charter schools, and that’s extremely unfair to students who attend the brick and mortar public schools,” said Snyder. “We’ve known for some time that not only do these cyber charter schools bleed vital funds away from public schools, they also put a financial strain on these districts, causing property taxes to increase. It’s time we enact cyber charter school reform in Pennsylvania.”

Snyder supports H.B. 526, a bipartisan measure that would mandate that if a school district offers its own cyber charter education, but a student opts to go to a different cyber charter school, the student’s parent or guardian would be required to pay tuition. This move would keep property tax funds in the home district where it belongs, Snyder said.

“It’s time we put reforms in place for these cyber charter schools, because our local school districts, like the Brownsville Area School District, are hurting and will continue to do so unless we take decisive action,” she said.

The bill is awaiting action in the House Education Committee.