Susan Spicka: Are cyber charters playing games with Pennsylvania tax dollars?
Susan Spicka is the executive director of Education Voters of Pennsylvania. The group has recently uncovered one more way a cyber charter in the state puts taxpayer dollars to work for itself.
Education Voters of PA has obtained official emails and blank reimbursement forms along with screen shots from a Commonwealth Charter Academy Facebook page that reveal during the 2021-2022 school year, CCA, Pennsylvania’s largest cyber charter school with an enrollment of nearly 20,000 students, is using tax dollars to:
- Send every family a cash payment of $150 (March 25, 2022)
- Provide a $250 “community class” cash reimbursement for each student enrolled
- Provide a $200 “personal field trip” cash reimbursement for each student enrolled
Facebook posts* in a CCA parent page show families discussing spending tax dollars provided by CCA to:
- Purchase meals and games Dave and Busters arcade
- Attend a Motley Crue concert
- Take a trip to Austria
- Buy Eagles tickets
- Take family vacations to Universal Studios and Disney
- Pay for scuba, ski, and horseback riding lessons
CCA is also using school field trips to market to families. On its website, CCA boasts that students are allowed to attend one paid field trip per month as part of more than 700 organized trips with the school for both individual and social field trips to locations including “Sky Zone in Lancaster County, where students can jump on trampolines and the Blue Mountain Resort’s Summit Ariel Park, where students will have access to four different ropes courses and have a chance to go ziplining or go through the obstacle course.” Other field trips offered by CCA include, “laser tag, rock climbing, bowling, and kayaking.”