Tactics Used By School Districts to Harass and Intimidate Families
Pennsylvania public cyber charter schools, like CCA, have seen record enrollment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. For various reasons, families across the state have exercised their right under state law to send their child to the public school of their choice.
School districts across the state are expressing their frustration about the number of students who have enrolled in a public cyber charter school, like CCA. While this isn’t something new, their anti-cyber charter school rhetoric is at a fever pitch.
State law requires a child’s school district of residence to pay the cyber charter school a portion of what the district spends per student, ensuring that students can attend a public cyber charter school at no cost to families. The amount paid to a cyber charter school is not an arbitrary figure; it is calculated using a specific formula in state law that governs payments to cyber charter schools. On average, each child who attends a public cyber charter school, like CCA, receives 25 percent less funding than their peers in school districts.
Districts are employing various tactics that border on harassment to intimidate and force families to re-enroll in district schools or district-run cyber programs.
Below is a list of tactics being used by districts, with an explanation of what the law guarantees and what CCA is doing:
- Tactic # 1: Some districts are calling, emailing, mailing letters, and/or having a district representative personally visit the homes of families who have a child enrolled in a public cyber charter school to demand families prove and verify residency in the district.
- While districts can request families to prove residency, CCA already follows the law and processes put in place by the Pennsylvania Department of Education when a child enrolls in CCA.
- When a child enrolls in CCA, we collect the required documentation (Charter School Student Enrollment Notification Form, proof of residence, proof of age, and immunization records) and send a copy of the Enrollment Notification Form to the district certifying that the child is enrolled with CCA and has met the requirements for enrollment. This is sufficient for CCA to be paid by your local district for your child’s enrollment.
- NOTE: CCA will not withdraw a child for lack of payment from a district as long as the student resides in Pennsylvania. State law ensures CCA will be paid for your child’s education, which requires no action on your part; however, you are required to notify CCA if you move.
- Tactic # 2: Some districts are providing false information to families about when and/or if their child can enroll in a public cyber charter school.
- Pennsylvania’s Charter School Law specifically allows families to enroll their child in a public cyber charter school at any time during the school year without having to obtain approval of their local school district. Districts cannot stop a family from enrolling their child in a cyber charter school unless the student has been expelled from his or her district of residence.
- Tactic # 3: Some districts are contacting families to inform them that their child is being recorded as absent from school and is in violation of truancy laws even though the child is enrolled in a public cyber charter school.
- When your child is enrolled in CCA, he or she is officially a CCA student and is no longer a student of your local school district. A district cannot take any action against a student who is enrolled in CCA. If your school district contacts you about absences or truancy issues, please contact CCA’s enrollment team at 844-590-2864.
- Tactic # 4: Some districts are repeatedly attempting to force families to enroll in the district’s cyber program or claiming that students must enroll in their cyber program instead of attending a public cyber charter school.
- Families are NOT required to enroll their child in a district’s cyber program. While families have the option to attend a district’s cyber program, under state law, families also have the right to enroll their child in a public cyber charter school regardless of whether or not their local district operates its own cyber program.
- Tactic # 5: Some districts are providing false information to families about their child’s ability to participate in district-run sports programs and after-school activities.
- Pennsylvania’s Charter School Law specifically states that no school district shall prohibit a student of a charter school from participating in any extracurricular activity of the district, as long as the student is able to fulfill the requirements of participation and the charter school does not provide the same activity.
As a taxpayer, you fund public schools in a variety of ways, including local income, per capita, and property taxes, and state and federal taxes. It is our belief that the funding that is allocated to school districts belongs to taxpayers and students, not the school system.
As a Pennsylvania parent and citizen, you have exercised your statutory right to have your child educated by the public school that best serves his or her needs.