SV: Charter, cyber system needs reform
April 17, 2013
JACKSON TWP — The Seneca Valley School Board on Monday night called on state officials to reform the cyber, charter school system and the way school districts fund it. Under state law, school districts are mandated to pay tuition for their students who attend cyber or charter schools. A district official last year said that Seneca Valley pays nearly $8,800 a year for a regular student to attend these charter schools and more than $18,000 for a special education student. Seneca Valley is estimated to spend about $1.6 million this year to educate more than 185 of its students at cyber schools. Since the 2008-2009 school year, officials estimated that Seneca Valley has paid more than $7.3 million to educate cyber students. Furthermore, the state has reimbursed only $985,000 to Seneca Valley during that time, including no money the past two school years. The board Monday passed a resolution urging the state government to action. The board’s main contention is that the state’s formula to determine districts’ cost is based on a complex formula rather than the actual cost to educate students that these schools. In addition, the district is required to pay cyber charter schools for pension costs. However, the state also reimburses cyber charter schools for up to 50 percent of their pension costs, meaning those schools are receiving a “double dip” in pension payments. According to Seneca Valley officials, state taxpayers pay an additional $50 million annually for these “double dip” pension payments. School officials pointed out that any money saved from paying other cyber schools could be put back into Seneca Valley’s budget, which could lessen the burden on district taxpayers.