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Judge says insurer has to cover PA Cyber's defenses in school districts' lawsuit

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Tuesday, May 13, 2014, 8:42 p.m.

Some of the claims four school districts make in a state class-action lawsuit against a Beaver County cyber charter school could be covered by its insurance policy, so a New Hampshire insurance company has to cover the school's legal defenses, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.

Whether Peerless Insurance Co. will have to pay any damages awarded against PA Cyber Charter School depends on what claims the damages are based on, U.S. District Judge Mark Hornak said in partially dismissing the insurer's federal lawsuit against the school.

The districts — Albert Gallatin Area, Avonworth, South Park and West Allegheny — claim in a Fayette County case that the Midland school should reimburse them for money they paid between the 2002 and 2010 school years for 4-year-old students who enrolled in the cyber charter from their district.

The state Supreme Court in 2011 ruled that districts don't have to pay charter schools for those students if the district doesn't offer kindergarten until the students are 5.

Hornak closed the federal case until the state case is resolved and he can rule on whether Peerless has to cover any damages.

Brian Bowling is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.




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