Pennsylvania’s State Auditor Jack Wagner has been a fiscal watchdog who serves the public interest.
He has repeatedly warned that the state’s multiplying cybercharters are claiming far more money than they need for the online instruction they offer.
Earlier this year, Wagner warned that the state was wasting $365 million a year on cybercharters and charters because of its funding formula. After all, a cybercharter does not have the costs of a brick and mortar school, yet gets full tuition for a child who sits home in front of a computer. In effect, the state is now funding home schooling, and the cyber corporation is the beneficiary.
In his latest audit, he finds that the state’s largest cybercharter has a surplus of $13 million and that it spend millions on advertising.
This is money taken from taxpayers to educate children, not to sit in the corporation’s bank account or to troll for more unwary students.
In a state where the extremist right has the upper hand, it is gratifying to see a conscientious public servant who is a steward of the public treasury.
It is sad that he is leaving public office.
We need more Jack Wagners, not just in Pennsylvania, but in every state.
We need people courageous enough to blow the whistle when the greedy are taking money that belongs to public education.