Conservatives forgot to count Phila. charter schools

A recent Pennsylvania Independent report about the hold-harmless provision of Pennsylvania school funding contained a drastic error.


Critics of Philadelphia's school funding claimed public schools' enrollment has dropped 25 percent since 2002. That is false – the real change is a drop of about 5.5 percent.


The larger figure leaves out publicly-funded charter schools and cyber charter schools. The money for those schools comes out of state and local funding for Philadelphia public schools, just as it does in the rest of Pennsylvania. By state law, charter and cyber charter schools are public schools. That is why I will continue to press for reforms in how they are funded – taxpayers shouldn't be forced to overpay for them by an estimated $365 million per year, at the expense of students in other public schools.


I doubt conservative supporters of charter and cyber charter schools meant to suggest an end to their state and local tax funding. However, that is what leaving those public schools out of the totals implied.


State Rep. James Roebuck


Democratic chairman, House Education Committee