The "American Dream" such as wanting power, fame, and fortune.
While there are many factors governing the budget -- salary and benefits costs comprise nearly half of the district's total yearly expenditures -- district Chief Financial Officer Chris Berdnik says the state's system for funding charter schools is unfair, since city districts like Pittsburgh have a higher per-pupil cost than other districts in Pennsylvania.
Charter schools benefit more from receiving students from schools with higher tuition rates. Since students from one district can go to a charter school in a different district, kids from Pittsburgh and McKeesport may be getting the exact same education while their home districts are paying drastically different prices for it.
Pittsburgh's charter-school problem has become more pressing in the past year due to increasing costs and the opening of a new charter school. Berdnik says the spike is due in part to Pittsburgh's newest charter school, The Environmental Charter School at Frick Park, which opened at the start of this school year.
Yearly rate increases are also to blame for the rising costs. Pennsylvania legalized charter schools in Since then, more than have opened across the state, serving nearly 50, students.
To date, the Pittsburgh Public Schools have lost more than 2, students to 24 different charter schools -- seven of which are within the city; eight of which are outside the city; and nine of which are cyber charter schools, Internet schools approved by the state where students complete their work and communicate with teachers online.
Charter schools -- independently operated schools open to students at no charge --offer students educational opportunities they can't receive in a traditional public school. By law, the state is required to reimburse up to 30 percent of a district's charter-school costs. But the state is currently reimbursing Pittsburgh for only about 24 percent of its charter costs.
And Berdnik says it's highly unlikely that the state will increase the reimbursement any time soon, given the current economic downturn. But, Berdnik asks, "How would you calculate a more appropriate, stable [tuition] rate for all schools in a region?
In one area, at least, Berdnik may get his wish. Legislation that would create a statewide flat rate for cyber-school tuition has been floating around the House for nearly two years.
The Pennsylvania Department of Education PDE supports the bill, which would calculate roughly how much it costs to run a cyber charter school. That way, every school could pay the same rate. If it's revived and eventually passed, charter-school advocates worry it could really strap charters' finances.
Tomasco, a former charter-school principal, says it's "not easy" to get grants and corporate donations to replace tuition money from students' home districts. McCluan cautions that decreased funding for cyber schools could be problematic for the online programs.
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Most men who were in the war were there because they were drafted, not do to their own choice. This made them hate the war that much more than they already did before, as if fighting for your life wasn't bad enough. For Richard Perry in.