New Castle News


December 10, 2012

Charter schools impact public school budgets

NEW CASTLE — Costs to New Castle and other public school districts statewide are mounting for students attending charter and cyber charter schools.

By law, each district pays for students who choose those forms of alternative education. The money comes from the districts’ budgets.

But specifically, it is derived from the state subsidy a school district receives. The education subsidy is given for each student in the district, and the money follows the student.

The 2010-11 school year was the last year districts were eligible to receive up to 30 percent reimbursement from the state for cyber charter school costs, explained Joseph Ambrosini, the New Castle district’s business manager. The commonwealth has eliminated that funding as part of overall budget cuts.

The New Castle district pays $8,166 per year for each regular student and $16,979 per year for each special education student enrolled in charter or cyber charter school, Ambrosini said..

In 2009-10 school year, the district had about 70 students in charter schools, and paid out about $520,000.

In 2010-11, the district had about 80 students enrolled and paid $765,000 in tuition, he said. But that year, the received $117,000 in state reimbursement.

Last school year and this year, the district has received zero reimbursement, he said.

In 2011-12, about 90 students were enrolled at a payout of $810,000 by the district.

For this year, the district has budgeted $825,000 for charter school fees, he said.

Ambrosini pointed out that the cost significantly impacts the district’s budget.

“Financially, charter schools have in the past, and in the foreseeable future, will continue to burden the district’s general fund,” he commented, acknowledging “there is a niche for students who truly believe they could benefit from the different programs that charter and cyber schools offer.”

Currently, New Castle has 26 students enrolled at the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School and 11 at the Lincoln Park Performing Arts Cyber Charter School, both in Midland, Beaver County, and an additional 11 are enrolled in the Commonwealth Connections Academy Charter School in Harrisburg.

Ambrosini pointed out that as an alternative, more districts are starting their own cyber charter schools to help defray budget costs, and New Castle is considering that.

“I’m sure the New Castle Area School District will follow along with that thinking,” he said.

Mohawk and Neshannock school districts already have started their own cyberschools.

According to Mohawk superintendent Kathleen Kwolek, last year the district had 34 students attending six other cyberschools throughout the state and paid $261,939 in tuition.

Mohawk pays $8,376 for a regular education student and $14,514 for a child with special needs, she noted.

Mohawk’s own cyber program had seven full-time and 21 part-time student enrolled last year.

The district has an on-site coordinator who monitors student attendance and program completion and its own certified teachers deliver instruction and work one-on-one with the students, Kwolek said.

The district’s total cost for its program, which got into full swing last year, is about $34,360, and it pays a fixed sum for the on-site coordinator and course work.

This year, the district has 18 students enrolled in outside charter schools and six full-time and six part-time in the district’s program, Kwolek said.


Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • 08.jpg Photo Gallery, Story: Community Easter morning service

    There’s a reason why most holidays last only 24 hours. It’s because when you’re finished celebrating, there’s still work to be done. The Rev. David Young reminded everyone who attended Sunday’s community Easter morning service at Lawrence Village Plaza of that.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo 1 Slideshow

  • money.jpg Retirements, attrition to save district money

    A slew of retirements in the New Castle School District may result in savings in the 2014-15  budget. The school district plans to introduce its spending plan next month.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fletch1.jpg No Retreat: Teacher’s golden retriever proves to be a hero, fighter

    It was last fall, and my favorite time of the year to be in the woods hunting. On this day, I could hunt small game and turkey, though my primary purpose was a hike in the woods with my dog, Maggie. This year was special. I also had my five-month-old golden retriever, Remi.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • fire.jpg Firefighters respond to gas leak

    New Castle firefighters responded to a gas leak Friday at the former Lincoln-Garfield school on Long Avenue. Assistant Fire Chief Mike Petrone said Columbia Gas received a call from someone in the 800 block of South Mercer Street about the smell of gas Friday morning.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • ATV.jpg City residents register complaints about ATVs

    Some North Hill residents expressed annoyance and frustration over youngsters recklessly operating all-terrain vehicles through their neighborhoods.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Barletto.jpg Emotional Closure: Woman sentenced in Jerry McCarthy’s death

    The driver of the car that killed a Shenango Township policeman is heading to prison. Kylee Gwen Barletto, 26, apologized Wednesday to the family of William J. “Jerry” McCarthy and to her family after pleading guilty to eight of 16 charges against her.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • fire.jpg Fire marshal probes cause of blaze

    A city police fire marshal said he hasn’t ruled yet on a blaze that ravaged two Taylor Street houses. Chris Fabian, who was at the fire scene for the duration Monday morning, said the blaze that displaced three families started in the back of a yellow, two-story duplex at 602 Taylor St.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • quake.jpg Pennsylvania won’t take action on quakes

    Pennsylvania officials plan no action despite new Ohio rules on drilling that affect a seismically active area near the state line.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

  • 01.jpg Photo Gallery, Story: Crowds of anglers still turned out for opening day of trout season

    Saturday morning marked the beginning of the Pennsylvania trout season. Locally, many anglers took to the county’s rivers and streams, eager to get started. The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission stocked lakes and streams with 3.2 million adult brook, brown and rainbow trout.

    April 14, 2014 9 Photos

  • S_Levar1.jpg Levar Ware’s Story, Part 2: After getting his life back on track, senior ready to tackle college next

    Second of two parts: Even when Levar Ware was at his lowest, people recognized the quality of his character.  Some, like Andy Tommelleo, former director of the Lawrence County Career and Technical Center, went the extra mile because of it.

    April 12, 2014 3 Photos 1 Story

House Ads

When will you start mowing your grass?

Been there, done that
Probably this week
Not until May
You mean, when will I HIRE someone to mow my grass?
     View Results