FUMO PROPOSES STATE FUNDING OF CHARTER SCHOOLS
HARRISBURG, April 8, 2002 – State Senator Vincent Fumo introduced legislation today to have the commonwealth assume all costs of charter schools from local school districts.
Currently, school districts must forward a portion of the per-student instruction expense to a charter school for each of its students who are enrolled in that charter school.
Under Fumo’s legislation (SB 1385), the state would pay an equivalent sum directly to each charter school, beginning with the 2002-2003 school year.
"The state charter school law, while it is an educational concept that I support, has become a financial burden on local school districts," Fumo said. "They are paying someone else to educate their students without being able to reduce their own classroom instructional costs significantly."
Cyber charters, which educate students over the Internet, usually in the child’s home, would be covered differently. Cyber charters would be reimbursed based on their actual per-student operating expense. Cyber charters were not anticipated in the original charter school legislation.
Charter schools would continue to receive the same amount of funding that they are entitled to receive under the current formula. Fumo’s bill would simply shift the responsibility for payment from the school district to the state.
Philadelphia would save $95 million under this plan, while the rest of the 500 school districts in Pennsylvania would save a combined $42 million.
The measure was introduced with six co-sponsors, all Democratic members of the Philadelphia delegation.