Cyber Charter School Reform
In 2017-18 East Penn taxpayers paid nearly $1.5 million for district students to attend cyber charter schools regardless of the actual costs or services provided. I support Senate Bill 34 and House Bill 526 which would provide savings for school districts that operate full-time online learning programs, like East Penn. The legislation would remove the financial responsibility of the district to fund resident students who enroll in cyber charter schools instead of the district’s programs.
School Start Times
The East Penn School Board recently passed a resolution to have the administration study the impact of later start times for students at the high school and middle schools. I support this initiative. Its is clear from research by the American Academy of Pediatrics and others that later start times do provide a healthier learning environment for adolescents. However, any proposed change must also address issues such as elementary school schedules, bus schedules, extracurricular activities, day care, after school jobs and any cost impact to the district. It is my position that all these factors must be carefully weighed before any change is made. I continue to study the issue and welcome input from the community. A link to the East Penn School District task force on school start times is provided below.
The State’s initiative to increase funding for public education in the 2018-19 fiscal year was positive, but East Penn still ranks 467th out of 500 districts in state support. The recent 2019-20 budget proposal to increase basic education, special education and safety and security funding by over $300 million is also welcome. However, with the district facing ever increasing costs it is vitally important that the State continues to increase its support of public education and not leave the burden totally on local taxpayers.