AllentownSchool District

Allentown Joins 250+ School Districts Calling for Meaningful Charter Reform

Allentown Joins 250+ School Districts Calling for Meaningful Charter Reform
Posted on 05/28/2020

During the May 28, 2020, regular board meeting, the Allentown School District Board of Directors adopted a second resolution on behalf of our city taxpayers, calling for charter school funding reform. By passing this resolution, Allentown joins 246 other districts across Pennsylvania urging the General Assembly to meaningfully revise the existing charter school funding systems for regular and special education. This will ensure that school districts and taxpayers are no longer overpaying these schools or reimbursing for costs the charter schools do not incur. 
The resolution is publicly available in BoardDocs here.

Pennsylvania’s current charter funding formula was established in 1997 and has not been changed in 23 years. In 2019 - 2020 the Allentown School District is projected to pay close to $60 million in tuition to charter schools, which includes $7.4 million in cyber tuition and $50.3 million to brick and mortar. In the midst of a pandemic, these costs cannot be ignored and the Allentown School District’s structural budget deficit cannot be fixed without charter reform.

Growing charter school costs is a concern that is not unique to Allentown. Governor Wolf visited Allentown last summer to share plans for meaningful charter reform. During this visit, Wolf met with District administrators and board members to outline his vision to strengthen charter school quality, accountability, and transparency to control costs and improve outcomes for students. 

With this resolution, Allentown adds its name to a list of districts that are in need of relief from the current funding system that results in school districts making overpayments to charter schools. These costs continue to grow each year, forcing traditional public school districts across PA to raise taxes and cut staffing, programs, and services for their own students in order to pay millions of dollars to charter schools. 

The Allentown School District Board of Directors calls upon our legislature to enact revisions to the law that would increase transparency and accountability within the charter school system in Pennsylvania.