Joseph Zupancic’s letter to the editor in the Canon-McMillan Patch, titled posted Oct. 10, was inaccurate and ignored important and basic facts about Pennsylvania’s cyber charter schools.
The writer’s statement that only one cyber school out of 12 made Adequate Yearly Progress according to the 2011-2012 PSSA results is incorrect.
Our school, Pennsylvania Leadership (cyber) Charter School, was one of 92 charter schools and one of at least three cyber charter schools that achieved AYP status this past school year.
Adequate Yearly Progress remains a difficult goal, as our school is graded in 28 different categories, including special education, English as a second language, low income groups and minority groups.
However, our educators continue to rise to the challenge and a greater number of our students are achieving or exceeding state requirements year after year.
Regarding school funding, Mr. Zupancic completely ignores the fact that charter schools start with, on average, 40 percent less than the home school district for each student. In some cases, charter schools are left with only 52 percent of the funding for each student, while the district school retains 48 percent of the per-pupil funding—with no responsibility for the education of that student.
School districts complain that they are losing revenue. However, that money follows the student as more parents exercise school choice. Across Pennsylvania, charter schools are educating students for fewer dollars than district schools.
Statewide and on a smaller level, in the cities of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, charter schools are outperforming traditional district schools according to the percentages of schools that made AYP in the last school year.
Across the Commonwealth, 49.85 percent of traditional district schools achieved AYP status for the 2011-2012 school year. That’s compared to 58.97 percent for charter schools.
For many families, a cyber charter school education proves best for students. I would be glad to take Mr. Zupancic or any other person on a tour of our facility so they can see first-hand how exciting and innovative a cyber charter can be.
Dr. James Hanak
Pennsylvania Leadership Charter School