Governor Wolf says he wants to trump nearly a quarter-billion dollars from charter schools and hold them more accountable.

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Governor Tom Wolf is launching criticism against charter schools.

Pennsylvania’s governor says they drain funds from school districts and lead to hikes in property taxes. Charter schools are quick to defend themselves, arguing they provide a quality education for students who struggle in traditional classrooms.

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For Amy Hutchinson and her daughter, 6-year-old Mia, the PA Cyber Charter School was the best thing that could have happened during a pandemic.

“She had educators to educate her every day,” said Amy. “But within the safety of our own home. It makes me feel good that I don’t have to put her on a bus every day.”

Mia takes classes through the PA Cyber Charter School in Midland. It serves nearly 12,000 students across the state. CEO Brian Hayden isn’t too pleased about the governor’s proposal to cut funding.

“Obviously, we don’t want to see a reimbursement reduction that doesn’t allow us to fully serve our students,” Hayden said.

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Charter schools charge local school districts on average about $12,000 per student. Governor Wolf wants to reduce that to $9,500.

“Many cyber schools graduate fewer than two-thirds of their students,” Wolf said. “When funding is redirected to these poorly performing schools, that means less money that’s left for students who remain in traditional public school classrooms.”

Hayden: What we’re doing is serving our students with that money. We don’t believe we’re draining the school district.

KDKA’s Paul Martino: You do make a profit, sir?

Hayden: Yes, we do. I don’t consider it a profit. We’re a public school. There are years we have surpluses.

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Governor Wolf says he wants to trim nearly a quarter-billion dollars from charter schools and hold them more accountable. To make that happen, he’ll have to get it passed through the Republican-controlled Legislature.