SUNBURY — Shikellamy Superintendent Jason Bendle says his plan to bring cyber school students back to the district will save taxpayers thousands if it works.
Bendle will present his plan to Shikellamy school board members and the public on Thursday during a district board meeting.
Bendle said he has been working on gathering the 84 current cyber school students together to speak with families about why students should be getting their education at Shikellamy.
"We are spending $1.2 million right now and students are going to other cyber schools," Bendle said. "If we can bring them back we will spend about $313,000 and our students will get to receive a Shikellamy education."
Bendle said Shikellamy right now only provides 6th- through 12th-grade virtual academy. If the district decides to go with a full cyber school and add K through 5th grades, the district will not only save but be able to add teaching jobs.
"My pitch here is that our kids are our kids and they should be part of our district," Bendle said. "If they chose to come back to the district, then they get to participate in sports, all activities including school dances. Most importantly they get a Shikellamy diploma and we will be able to get a few more teachers."
Bendle said he already started reaching out to parents and wants to meet with each family and show them what Shikellamy has to offer.
"I want to sit down and talk with people," he said. "I truly believe not only will this be something that saves us money but it is, more importantly, a way for our kids to become part of the district and get a great Shikellamy education."
Shikellamy is attempting to be part of the growing amount of schools trying to get students to return to the district.
Bendle said in 2017-18 the district spent $1.3 million on cyber school students and will spend about the same in 2018-19.
Bendle said another advantage of keeping students in the district is that students will have the option of coming to school or staying home. 'They can come in when they want," he said. "Some people may like the class they are taking and want to come to the building. We can customize schedules for each student."
School board member Jenna Eister-Whitaker said she is excited to hear Bendle's presentation.
"I am very happy he (Bendle) is looking at all these things," Eister-Whitaker said. "Anytime we can save our taxpayers money it is a good thing. Plus I am excited to hear and see the presentation."
Board Vice President Scott Karpinski said he is also looking forward to hearing from Bendle.
"I really am excited to see all of the savings Superintendent (Jason) Bendle is proposing," Karpinski said. "He is reviewing everything in the budget and he is really finding gaps and working on ways to improve our education and our district as a whole."
Pennsylvania has 14 cyber school charters that enroll more than 37,000 students according to the department of education. In the Valley, Shikellamy, Lewisburg, Danville, Milton, Selinsgrove, Warrior Run and Midd-West all have cyber schooling within the district.
The board of directors meets at 7 p.m. at the administration building on Packer Island.