From Education Voters of Pennsylvania
Recent reporting in the Scranton Times-Tribune revealed a stunning lack of state oversight over billions of taxpayer dollars that have been poured into Pennsylvania’s cyber charter schools over the past two decades.
Half of Pennsylvania’s cyber charter schools have never been audited. Commonwealth Charter Academy, the largest cyber charter in the state with an expected $270 million budget for 2021, was last audited in 2012.
The Auditor General audits school districts every three years to ensure that they are using taxpayer dollars properly. These audits are publicly posted for taxpayers to view. Cyber charter schools should be held to the same financial accountability standards as school districts.
Cyber charter schools are projected to receive more than $980 million in taxpayer-funded tuition payments in the 2020-2021 school year. With no state oversight, the opportunities for waste, fraud, and abuse are staggering.
Previous audits of cyber charter schools have revealed alarming conflicts of interest, gross mismanagement of funding, and, in one school, more than $110 million sent to a management company with no oversight over how this funding was spent.
In addition, recent reporting in the Times-Tribune documented that one cyber charter school spent $1000 per student on advertising last year while other cyber charters spent taxpayer money to purchase cell phones and Target gift cards for students and to provide families with cash payments.
We rely on the Auditor General’s office to fight against waste, fraud and abuse of taxpayer funding and to ensure that precious school tax dollars are being invested wisely into educating our public school students.
Thank you for your support of public education.
Susan Spicka, Executive Director, Education Voters of PA