As a decision on legislation to cut cyber charter school funding for 40,000 Pennsylvania students (S.B. 1085) looms, each day presents a crucial opportunity to make the case for the PA’s cyber charter school students. Pennsylvania parents aren’t missing their chance.
Rose Fernandez, a parent and former PublicSchoolOptions.org Board Member, guest blogged for Getting Smart on the unfairness and potential ramifications of S.B. 1085. Meanwhile, other families established micro-websites addressing specific members of the PA legislature. The Wood family of DuBois, PA has a site directed at Senator Scarnati, which describes how a public cyber school helped their daughter continue learning after being diagnosed with a debilitating physical limitation. The Torres family of Lancaster, PA also created a site – addressing Senator Smucker. It describes how Agora Cyber Charter School provided the options the Torres family needed after moving to the U.S. from Puerto Rico.
And during a press conference Nov. 13 at the Harrisburg Capitol rotunda, students, parents and members of the Pennsylvania Families for Public Cyber Schools gathered to voice their concern about the proposed funding changes. Commonwealth Connections Academy student Catherine Thurston addressed the press, saying “My parents pay taxes just like everyone else’s, and I would prefer not to be treated like a second-class student, unworthy of the same educational support as students who attend brick-and-mortar public schools just because my family has chosen an alternative method of public schooling.” She concluded her remarks by urging legislators, “Please protect us like you protect your public school districts.”
Monica Allison, president of PA Families for Public Cyber Schools, also made remarks. “Like all parents, we don’t want larger classrooms and fewer teachers. But that’s exactly what’s going to happen.” See coverage of the event by the Bucks County Courier Times and local ABC affiliate WHTM.
S.B. 1085 proposes taking roughly five percent of the funding designated for public cyber charter schools and reassigning it to traditional brick-and-mortar public schools – taking money from the school where students attend and transferring it to the books of a school they do not attend. It effectively reduces funding for students at public cyber charter schools, who already receive approximately 20-30 percent less than their traditional school peers. (Want to help? Sign the petition!)
Way to make your voices heard, Pennsylvania parents! We hope PA legislators will listen up.