Charter schools and Cyber Charter schools are an important piece of the educational quilt in Pennsylvania. Forty-thousand students are enrolled in them.
Parents and students are concerned about Senate Bill 1085 that would cut funding to charters and cyber charters by five percent while it studies the state's funding formula for that educational subset.
At a Capitol Rotunda rally Wednesday afternoon, they criticized the logic behind 1085 for a cut to funding before that funding is actually studied.
Courtney Thurston, a 16-year-old from Mechanicsburg, said she was bullied in her school but is flourishing at Commonwealth Connections Academy, a cyber charter school. She hopes to attend MIT and wants others to have similar opportunities.
"If funding is cut, I worry about the opportunity for future students to take classes like my Advanced Placement Computer Science course," Thurston said.
Senator Lloyd Smucker - (R) Lancaster - authored the bill to reduce charter funding. He's listening to his school districts who are complaining that charters and cyber charters are too costly.
"There are a lot of different opinions on this," Smucker said. "But certainly school districts believe they are spending too much money when a child leaves their district to go to a charter."
But Jenny Bratmon, Executive Director of Pennsylvania Families for Public Cyber Schools, rejects that argument.
"The school districts are sending 70 percent to the cyber school," Bratmon said. "They get to keep 30 percent for doing nothing, for a child that's no longer in their classroom."