In the following article, the proposal to offer virtual school services to families in Cranberry, Pennsylvania has at least one logical error in the text.
- The Derrick, Oil City, Pennsylania, 27 June 2006, Cranberry to offer cyber school alternativeÂ Â Â Â
An alternative to cyber charter schools, set to be offered through Cranberry Area School District next year, could save the school district thousands of dollars.Â Â …
Cranberry pays $7,601 a year for each regular education student attending cyber charter schools and $14,016 for special education students.Â Â …
Bodnar said a high estimate of the cost for a student to take the full cyber service curriculum is around $3,200. That number is the same for regular and special education students.Â Â …
An additional $1,800 is added to the per student cost for students without computers, which could bring the total cost to around $5,000 per student.
Aside from saving money, cyber services could help woo students back into the school, Jablonka said.Â …Â
Once a student is already in the building once a day for an elective, he or she might decide to make the switch and come back to school full-time, she speculated.
If the point is to save money by providing a virtual school,Â then why do the administrators want to woo students back to the brick and mortar school?Â What happens to the virtual structure if all the kids are seduced and return?Â
Also,Â whyÂ areÂ the objects of affection (since they’re being ‘wooed’) homeschooled kids and not also private school kids?Â Attendance by both would boost brick and mortar school numbers.Â What is it about homeschooling that is more irksome to public school administrators than private schooling?Â Losses are losses, aren’t they?
- Although cyber charter and home schooled students are eligible for extra curricular activities now, Godinich said they rarely take advantage of the opportunities because they don’t have a connection with the school.
State-funded virtual schools are free to exist wherever the local population decides that they want them, but at least there could be honest about why the alternate program is being developed, staffed and funded.
An additional consideration by the Cranberrry administrators is the increases in taxesÂ being experienced by other Pennsylvania communities that have implemented virtual schools, for whatever reason.
- Education Policy and Leadership Center, 27 January 2006, EPLC Education Notebook Â
Twelve Pennsylvania cyber schools currently educate 13,245 students from more than 491 school districts across the state. School officials say a change is needed in how cyber schools are funded, but cyber school operators warned a change that could potentially decrease cyber school funding would have a negative impact on educational quality. School district officials said cyber schools should be funded based on a fixed per pupil rate rather than the per pupil expenditure of each student’s school district of residence. Currently, school districts pay tuition for each resident student enrolled in a cyber school at about 80% of the district’s per pupil expenditure. The state reimburses districts up to 30% of their payments to charter schools, including cyber charter schools. That per-pupil rate varies greatly because of the disparity in education funding across the state.
- Norwin Star, Gateway Newspapers, Monroeville, Pennsylvania, 14 June 2006, Norwin not alone with hikeÂ
- East Neighborhoods — Post Gazette, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 15 June 2006, Belt tighter, but not enoughÂ
- North Neighborhoods — Post Gazette, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 15 June 2006, North News BriefsÂ
- South Hills Record, Pittsburgh Tribune Review, Greensburg, Pennsylvania,Â 15 June 2006, Property tax hikes depend on many factorsÂ
Pennsylvania seems to need some kind of change in the way education costs are funded.Â But wooing homeschooled kids — whose parents pay for the children’s schooling — back to brick and mortar schools doesn’t, on the face of it, appear to be a useful strategy.