Pennsylvania cyber charter schools rally to oppose funding cuts

May 17, 2013, 14:26 ET from PA Cyber Charter School

HARRISBURG, Pa., May 17, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A large contingent of PA Cyber Charter School students, parents, teachers and staff were among a thousand-plus charter school supporters who cheered speakers and swarmed through the Capitol building to speak with their legislators at the 7th annual Day on the Hill Rally on Tuesday, May 14.

Elected officials who spoke in support of charter and cyber charter schools at the rally were: Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley; state Sen. Michael Folmer, majority chairman of the Senate Education Committee; longtime charter supporter state Sen. Anthony Williams, and state Rep. Dan Truitt of West Chester, a member of the House Education Committee, who has two sons attending a cyber charter school.

Among rally attendees voicing their concerns about proposed funding cuts to public cyber charter schools was Jacqueline Kenny, 12, a sixth grader at PA Cyber. She came with her parents, Jeff and Tracy, and brother Nick, 11, from Volant, a small town in northwestern Pennsylvania.

"I really hope you vote to keep cyber school funding and keep the right for us to choose our schools," Kenny wrote in a letter to her legislators, state Rep. Richard Stevenson and state Sen. Robert D. Robbins.

She wrote that her family switched to cyber school "because I was having trouble with math, and the public school just kept pushing me along and didn't do anything about it."  She now earns straight A's.

"I love PA Cyber because I learn so much more than I would have if I stayed in public school. I have so many new friends and supportive teachers," said Kenny in her letter.

Dozens of PA Cyber families at the rally included Linda and Ken Snyder of Likens, Pa., and their friends Christy and Mick Lower of Elizabethville.

The Snyders enrolled their daughter Sarah, 9, and son Kenneth, 7, this year in PA Cyber because, Linda said, her classroom school was unable to stop her daughter from being bullied.  "I was in the office 12 times last year," Linda said.

Last year, while sitting on the bleachers at their girls' softball games, Linda Snyder had long conversations with Christy Lower before enrolling the Snyder children in PA Cyber. Lower twins Jeana and Paige, age 10, have been PA Cyber students for several years.

Christy said the Snyders were the third family she helped make a decision to transfer to PA Cyber.

Lawrence Jones, president of the Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools, told the rally that cutting funding to cybers is being pushed by the educational establishment "so that the status quo can stay where it is."

Jones said, "Who are they to say it costs too much for you to have a good education? What is the cost for a child who does not get a good education?"

Monica Allison, president of Pennsylvania Families for Public Cyber Schools, sponsor of Day on the Hill, said legislators should first be thanked for creating charter and cyber charter schools, then told that "these bills threaten our schools. If they are passed our schools will no longer exist. Our children will be second-class citizens."

Contact: Jill Valentine, 724.624.0473

SOURCE PA Cyber Charter School