Wednesday, September 16, 2015

No Jack... No payment!

Without money from state, Parkland won't pay tuition for charter students

By Kevin Duffy Special to The Morning Call September 15, 2015

With state lawmakers now well past the deadline to pass a budget, Parkland School District will not be making tuition payments for its students who attend charter schools.  Citing the absence of state subsidies coming into the district, the school board voted unanimously Tuesday to withhold payments for the 226 students who attend brick-and-mortar charter schools and cybercharter schools.  "We are taking fiscal responsibility within our district regardless of the fiscal irresponsibility of our state legislators," Director Robert Cohen said.  Last year, Parkland paid the equivalent of approximately $2.4 million, or $200,000 per month, to cover the tuition of 126 students at brick-and-mortar charter schools and 100 who are home-schooled through cybercharters.  That amount does not account for transportation costs associated with busing students to charter school campuses within a 10-mile radius of Parkland's district boundaries — Lincoln Leadership Academy and Roberto Clemente Charter School, both in Allentown.

School districts are required to make 12 monthly payments equal to the amount owed per year for a resident student attending a charter school. If districts opt not to pay, that amount is deducted from their state subsidy.  "We're just saying deduct it from our subsidy," Superintendent Richard T. Sniscak said.  With the pipeline of state aid having run dry, Parkland has decided to pull the plug on paying into the charter system.

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