Pittsburgh Public Schools
After several years spent building a strong community coalition and winning seats on the school board, Great Public Schools Pittsburgh is leading the fight to ensure the board retains the right to select the district’s next superintendent. Read this commentary from One Pittsburgh’s Erin Kramer for an inspiring look at grassroots organizing for education justice in Pittsburgh. Read more about the superintendent search here.
Chester-Upland School District
The flawed state system for funding schools was in the limelight in the fall of 2015 as the state worked to create a financial recovery plan for the struggling Chester-Upland school district. A state mandate that Chester-Upland pay $40,000 in tuition for every special education student who attends a charter or cyber charter school lies the core of the district’s financial problems. This amount is far in excess of what it costs the charter schools to educate these children and charter operators do not have to spend the funding they get for special education on special education services.
Chester-Upland (like every other school district in PA) doesn’t receive a certain amount of funding per student, or per special education student, but it does have to pay charter operators a set amount, which means that the local school district only gets whatever is left. With decreasing school funding (and it wasn’t ever good in the first place) that is a recipe for disaster. Charter school parents are understandably concerned that their schools will lose funding, but it must not be acceptable to anyone that some schools get more funding for special education than they provide in services while other students go without.
In the absence of a rational formula for funding special education students who attend charter schools, the financial recovery plan for Cheater-Upland put in place a short-term solution. Under a 10-year agreement the school district will pay $27.028.72 for each student who attends a charter school. This will result in the savings of nearly $20 million for the struggling school district this year. Click HERE for more details.
The real solution to the fiscal problems plaguing Chester-Upland and many other school districts throughout PA is adequate and equitable funding: a funding formula that drives out money in a fair way and enough money to provide for the educational needs of every child. But until the legislature acts, we must find a more fair way to distribute funds in districts that are facing.
School District of Philadelphia
Education Voters asks City Council to create a new “Citizens’ Commission for Education” (will need to link to the blog—A New Era in Philadelphia)
York City School District
In December of 2014, Mr. David Meckley, the state-appointed receiver of the York City School District, proposed converting 100% of the schools in the York City School District to charter schools. Parents, community members, and teachers came together to oppose this proposal and it was ultimately abandoned. Read more about our concerns and position on this issue here: http://educationvoterspa.org/blog/further-analysis-of-proposal-to-convert-100-of-york-city-schools-to-charter-schools-needed/