State oversight lacking
By The Tribune-Review
Published: Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
The allegations against Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School founder Nick Trombetta (“Feds charge Pa. cyber school founder with 11 counts of fraud, conspiracy,” Aug. 24 and TribLIVE.com) can best be described as disgraceful.
I always questioned how a cyber school, which doesn't have to worry about paying for transportation, lunches, utilities, extracurricular activities, etc., can charge public school districts the full per-pupil expenditure — which can exceed $15,000.
Mr. Trombetta answered my question. Spend a third of the subsidy educating your students, then pocket the rest! Sounds like a great deal to me.
The only thing more shameful than Trombetta's alleged transgressions is that it took the federal government to uncover them. Where were our state legislators and officials?
Public school districts have been kicking and screaming for over a decade, pleading for the state to have better oversight over not only cyber schools, but also bricks-and-mortar charter schools. Other than sitting on their backsides, our elected state officials did nothing.
Worse yet, there doesn't appear to be any future legislation that might curtail this type of problem. Cyber education “may” have a place in this state, but let's hope that place isn't ripping off the public.
The writer is president of the Penn Trafford Education Association.
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