Pennsylvania has many cyber charters. They are all failing schools. The legislature doesn’t care. Two cyber charter operators were arrested and convicted for stealing millions of dollars. One of them–Nicholas Trombetta– is awaiting sentencing for tax evasion on the $8 million he stole from the cyber charter he founded (Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School), the other–June Brown, founder of two cyber charters–was convicted but not sent to jail because the judge accepted her plea that she was too old and frail to be incarcerated (she is younger than me). Trombetta committed a crime by evading taxes, but stealing $8 million from his cyber charter was not a crime under lax Pennsylvania law, according to the article cited here.

Greg Windle writes here about the failure of the Legislature to reign in cyber charter corruption, fraud, waste, and abuse of taxpayers’ dollars.

Even choice advocates are embarrassed by cyber charters, but they keep on going, collecting tax dollars for rotten services.

No cyber charter school in Pennsylvania have ever received a passing academic score from the state, and very few have come close, according to information recently highlighted in a report from the office of Democratic State Rep. James Roebuck of Philadelphia.

Roebuck and other House Democrats have assembled a package of bills that would further regulate charters by reforming how they use reserve funds, rules for leasing buildings, special education payments, contracting, the teacher evaluation system, disclosure in advertising, school building closures, and the transfer of school records. The package would not single out cybers, but other legislation has been introduced that would reduce their per-student reimbursement.

Pennsylvania has 13 cyber charters enrolling more than 34,000 students, or 10 percent of all the cyber students in the country.

These schools are authorized not by local districts, but by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. But districts must send per-pupil payments to cyber charters for each local student they enroll, and the payments are the same as for brick-and-mortar charters, even though cybers have fewer expenses.

This has proven frustrating not only to the districts and other proponents of traditional public schools, but to several groups that favor school choice and charters…

No cyber charter school in Pennsylvania have ever received a passing academic score from the state, and very few have come close, according to information recently highlighted in a report from the office of Democratic State Rep. James Roebuck of Philadelphia.

Roebuck and other House Democrats have assembled a package of bills that would further regulate charters by reforming how they use reserve funds, rules for leasing buildings, special education payments, contracting, the teacher evaluation system, disclosure in advertising, school building closures, and the transfer of school records. The package would not single out cybers, but other legislation has been introduced that would reduce their per-student reimbursement.

Pennsylvania has 13 cyber charters enrolling more than 34,000 students, or 10 percent of all the cyber students in the country.

These schools are authorized not by local districts, but by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. But districts must send per-pupil payments to cyber charters for each local student they enroll, and the payments are the same as for brick-and-mortar charters, even though cybers have fewer expenses.

This has proven frustrating not only to the districts and other proponents of traditional public schools, but to several groups that favor school choice and charters…

It’s been a difficult school year for many U.S. cybers. Ohio’s largest chain was forced to close mid-year, and others closed down in Georgia, Indiana, Nevada, and New Mexico. In the past, it has been rare for states to close cyber charters despite low achievement across the sector and several financial scandals…

Of the 43 states that allow charter schools, only 35 allow cyber charters. The eight that do not are Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and Virginia. Only 23 of the states that allow cybers have actually authorized any, according to the report from the National Association of Charter School Authorizers. Those states plus Washington D.C. have a total of 135 full-time cyber charter schools.

Cybers make up just 2 percent of all charters in the country.

At its peak, Pennsylvania had 14 cyber charters, more than 10 percent of the nation’s total. However, Education Plus Cyber closed in December 2015 during the state budget crisis after its bank pulled the school’s line of credit. Some staff also alleged financial mismanagement…

Out of the 13 full-time cyber charters in Pennsylvania, educating over 34,000 students, only four have come close to receiving a passing grade of 70. The rest have received the lowest rating on the state’s academic rubric every year….

Larry Feinberg has his own frustrations with cyber charters and gw attributes them to a poorly written charter school law. Feinberg has been a school board member in Haverford Township for over 20 years, is on the board of the Pennsylvania School Board Association, and co-founded the Keystone State Education Coalition — a group that advocates for traditional public education, including stronger regulations on charters.

“Every month in school board meetings, I have to approve payments to cyber charters,” Feinberg said. “Our test scores are 30, 40, 50 points higher than theirs. We never authorized any of them. … They are all authorized by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. That allows them to reach in and take our tax dollars.

“There’s just no way it can cost as much money to educate them without a building and full-time staff. So there’s huge profits to be made.”