Action would kill school choice
Readers can generally count on the Post-Gazette to see through publicity stunts, so I was surprised to read its recent coverage of Seneca Valley school board's call for cyber charter reform. ("Charter reform sought," April 11)
The Seneca Valley board plans to act on a resolution the Pennsylvania School Board Association has been suggesting to school boards across the commonwealth as part of its lobbying strategy to kill public school choice.
The General Assembly has made great strides over the past few years in working through issues of charter school accountability and transparency yet has not been able to agree on a funding solution that sustains high-quality options that are fair to all children -- due in large part to political pressure from school districts.
The legislation before the House, which Seneca Valley supports, continues that effort.
Cyber charter schools are already effectively educating students for 20 percent less than taxpayers are paying to their districts.
The legislation Seneca Valley supports would cut that by another 20-30 percent, effectively gutting financing of cyber charter schools and eliminating that option for parents and children. That is the real motivation behind Seneca Valley's action.
At least 200 parents in the Seneca Valley school district, and 38,000 statewide, believe public cyber charter schools are meeting the needs of their children better than their traditional public school.
Rather than mounting a public relations effort to kill choice, Seneca Valley would better serve its mandate to educate all its children by understanding why parents are choosing other educational opportunities.
MICHAEL J. CONTI
Note: The author is interim CEO of the PA Cyber Charter Schoolneigh_north
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