The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

February 10, 2013

Cyber prices rankle supers

Taxpayers fund expensive web schools that fail to achieve AYP

By Evamarie Socha
The Daily Item

— As a result of Gov. Tom Corbett’s cut in reimbursements, many Valley school districts are paying at least $400,000 a year to honor students’ wishes to be educated in the 12 state cyber schools that last year failed to make adequate yearly progress on standardized tests.

Cyber education is not worth the cost, say Valley school district superintendents, who question why — without buildings, transportation and similar overhead — the alternative education choice receives as much money as it does.

Danville is paying $8,828 for each of 38 regular-education students to attend cyber schools, and $16,953 for each of eight special-education students, Superintendent Cheryl Latorre said.

Those regular-education cyber students cost the district $335,472; the special education students, $135,629, for a grand total of $471,101 for the 2012-13 school year. Danville last year spent $431,089.

Lewisburg spends approximately $400,000 for 35 students, including three special education students, Superintendent Mark DiRocco said. Currently, the cost per child is $10,335 and $18,732 per special-education student.

While Mifflinburg Superintendent Dan Lichtel said he did not know the counts of regular and special-education students, he knows it’s as many as 72 at a cost close to $700,000.

“It’s incredibly wasteful,” he said. “I have no problem with competition. A cyber or charter school is fine for those who can benefit by a different approach. But the experience we’ve had over the years has not been successful.”By Evamarie Socha

The Daily Item

As a result of Gov. Tom Corbett’s cut in reimbursements, many Valley school districts are paying at least $400,000 a year to honor students’ wishes to be educated in the 12 state cyber schools that last year failed to make adequate yearly progress on standardized tests.

Cyber education is not worth the cost, say Valley school district superintendents, who question why — without buildings, transportation and similar overhead — the alternative education choice receives as much money as it does.

Danville is paying $8,828 for each of 38 regular-education students to attend cyber schools, and $16,953 for each of eight special-education students, Superintendent Cheryl Latorre said.

Those regular-education cyber students cost the district $335,472; the special education students, $135,629, for a grand total of $471,101 for the 2012-13 school year. Danville last year spent $431,089.

Lewisburg spends approximately $400,000 for 35 students, including three special education students, Superintendent Mark DiRocco said. Currently, the cost per child is $10,335 and $18,732 per special-education student.

While Mifflinburg Superintendent Dan Lichtel said he did not know the counts of regular and special-education students, he knows it’s as many as 72 at a cost close to $700,000.

“It’s incredibly wasteful,” he said. “I have no problem with competition. A cyber or charter school is fine for those who can benefit by a different approach. But the experience we’ve had over the years has not been successful.”