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Increasing charter school costs burden taxpayers

Pocono Record logo Pocono Record 7/19/2021 By Merlyn Clarke
An apple, a book and a chalkboard © ARCHIVE PHOTO An apple, a book and a chalkboard

School districts recently received notices of the per student increases in charter school tuition costs from the Pennsylvania Department of Education for the 2021-22 school year. For Stroudsburg School District, the increases are as follows: 

— Regular education students: $402.32 per student. 

— Special education students: $1,642.81 per student. 

Based on current numbers, SASD charter school costs will rise $223,925.00 for the 2021-22 school year. This will be on top of the upwards of $9 million that the district currently pays for charter tuitions. 

More: Pocono schools grappling with uncertainty after students leave for cyber charters during pandemic

The district received notice of these mandated cost increases after the legal requirement to finalize the district’s budget. 

These increases aren’t the result of any improvement or expansion in charter school services. These increases are purely a function of the increases in district per student costs that the mandate dictates that districts must pay to charters. So, increasing charter costs increases district per student costs, which in turn drives up what we must pay to charters. It’s a self-compounding formula. Charter income compounds and they watch the compounding.

More: PVSD super resigns, board tables furloughs and votes to increase taxes

How long must this racket go on, with the taxpayers picking up the tab? Is the state legislature driven by nothing but ideology? Is there no one with an ounce of reason in the building? 

The state delivered a few more crumbs to education in this year’s budget. This increase doesn’t begin to cover rising charter school costs, to say nothing of increases in special education and pension costs — all mandated. 

Rep. Kerry Beninghoff recently editorialized about how once again the legislature "...held the line on taxes." Nonsense. The legislature just passed the tax burden down to local property taxpayers.   

Merlyn Clarke lives in Stroud Township in Monroe County

This article originally appeared on Pocono Record: Increasing charter school costs burden taxpayers

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