Letter to the editor | Bad return on budget

June 12, 2014 

Our governor seems to disclaim responsibility for budgetary shortfalls and is intent not to face reality. Thus, our public school system suffers while some reap huge profits from the taxpayers.

More than $1 billion has been allocated for cyber and charter schools, of which $376 million is earmarked for cyber schools. My figures are probably low, being based on 2012 expenditures, the most recent year that accounting for cyber schools is available.

The funding has been determined by the amount a school district spends to educate. One public school student: teachers, supplies, books, field trips, etc. In other words, cyber schools are compensated the same as though their students have the same costs as a student going to a brick-and-mortar school with various programs and live flesh-and-blood teachers.

A wealthy school district may spend $15,000 per student. The same amount was paid to the cyber school provider for the same service while a poor district may only be spending $10,000 per public school student. Obviously the actual cost for the provider is much less than the cost for a school district. So the provider reaps huge profits.

But most significant is that charter and cyber schools do a much poorer job educating our youth. Public schools graduate 84 percent and cyber schools graduate 60 percent. Only about 10 percent of cyber school students can pass the standardized tests.

Subsidizing private enterprises with public tax dollars is immoral. And that is what is being done with the degeneration of the most important institution of our democracy. A sound education for all has been the basis of the American Dream. Many suffered, fought for, but achieved the goal. It should not be lost because of avarice and greed.

Sam Contakos

Johnstown

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