Cyber charters are expensive as hell in Pennsylvania because we are stubbornly stuck with a system that pays the charter based on the cost-per-pupil of the sending school--not what it actually costs the cyber charter to serve that student.$35 million dollars of taxpayer money just on marketing. Governor Wolf has been trying to reform the system, but there's a great deal of resistance (backed by a bunch of lobbying money, because cyber charters can afford that).
During the pandemic, many schools set up their own version of cyber school, and that has created an opportunity to see just how huge the markup is for cyber chartering. Check out this excerpt from an op-ed written by the Kenneth Berlin, superintendent of Wattsburg Area School District:When the pandemic started, our district contracted an online learning system from K12 Learning Solutions (Stride) to offer our students an online schooling option facilitated by our teachers. Because we use our teachers and equipment, the average cost per student to the district is about $3,000. I want to note that the K12 Learning Solutions platform we purchased is the exact same platform used by Insight PA Cyber Charter School. I also want to point out that if a regular education student enrolls in Insight PA Cyber Charter School, our taxpayers are billed a mandated $13,118 per student. For special education students, the cost rises to $23,587 per student. Given that we can provide the exact same cyber learning experience as the Insight PA Cyber Charter School for just $3,000 per student, I believe that the current cyber school funding scheme is an unjustified waste of taxpayers’ hard-earned money.