School districts foresee crisis over pandemic cyber shift

Shikellamy Virtual Academy teacher Rachel Gittens helps eighth-grader Cynette Winston.

Valley school districts can find themselves footing the bill for cyber school for students who no longer reside within their district's geographic limits, superintendents said.

There is no efficient way to track cyber students and families who move from one town to another after a school year begins, they said.

"We have to really keep track of where people are living," Shikellamy Superintendent Jason Bendle said. "If a family moves to the Shikellamy School District and enrolls in outside cyber schooling, but moves and never tells us, the Shikellamy taxpayers continue to foot the bill."

Bendle said even if a family moves to a neighboring district and doesn't report it, that district continues to pay.

Milton Superintendent Cathy Keegan and Mount Carmel's Pete Cheddar said their districts try to track down where people are living in order to make sure their districts aren't paying for students that are no longer in their districts. 

People can slip through the cracks, Keegan said.

"It's not easy to do all the time," Cheddar said. "With everything else going on and trying to track down people it can get to be a lot."

"We used to be able to hold them accountable and track student attendance," Line Mountain Superintendent Dave Campbell said. "And that went away and there is no accountability at all. If someone leaves our district and doesn't tell us and the cyber school doesn't tell us, then the taxpayers of that district continue to pay."

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