Allegheny County school leaders calling for more funding from Harrisburg

STOWE TOWNSHIP, Pa. — Every day, public school districts in our state are spending money that is not benefitting its students.

“Out of a $36 million budget at least $8 million is going out the door to charters,” said Megan Van Fossan who’s Sto-Rox Superintendent.

Sto-Rox is not alone. Woodland Hills School District paid nearly $24 million and Pittsburgh Public $144 million a year.

Millions of dollars that these poorer schools need in the district.

“It’s am I fixing the furnace am I putting in the new hot water system am I going to have updated security cameras to provide enhanced safety and security for my children? It’s not something wealthier school district superintendents have to grapple with,” Van Fossan said.

The state charter tuition formula was deemed unconstitutional by the state as it disproportionately pulls more money from these lower-income schools.

But nothing has changed yet and more money continues to flow out the door.

“We hear the frustrations of parents, ‘my child is not getting this, my child is not getting that, teachers are overworked,” said Karen Lyons who’s a Woodland Hills School Board member.

That’s why these districts are fighting for Harrisburg to make a change and bring the funding back to the school at the very least to create a fixed rate for charter tuitions and reduce the $2.8 billion that is paid out by districts statewide to charter a year.

“One young man said to the lawmaker, I have to ride a bus sometimes with 6th graders and he’s a junior. Sometimes they have to stand on the bus. So it’s the basic needs of a student that are being impacted by the lack of funding,” Lyons said.

At this point, it’s just a waiting game as school leaders push lawmakers in Harrisburg for answers. But the more students that continue going to charters under the current formula just pull more money out of the home districts.

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