Is Pennsylvania overpaying for charter schools?
State Auditor General Jack Wagner said that charter schools in the state spend about $3,000 per student more – while the state's cyber charter school spends $3,500 more than the national average.
Wagner said the state could save taxpayers $365 million per year by adopting separate charter and cyber school funding formulas that are similar to those used in other states.
He said it also needs to close an administrative loophole that allows double-dipping in pension payments through the calculation of tuition rates.
According to Wagner, a study of the charter school funding system showed that the state has overpaid charter schools because its formula is based on the educational costs of the school district sending the student rather than on the actual educational cost to the charter or cyber school.
He noted that overhead costs at a cyber school are much lower than bricks-and-mortar schools, so the system should be amended to reflect actual costs.Wagner said there are presently about 100,000 students in charter and cyber schools in Pennsylvania.