Consolidation of school districts is just one area to be included in a study commissioned by the state Legislature, Rep. Bryan Barbin, D-Johnstown, said.
The study is to look at improving efficiencies through consolidation and shared services across all schools, including public, charter and cyber/charter schools.
“We should not say we are only going to look at part of the problem,” Barbin said.
Many have pointed to the state’s 500 school districts as an opportunity to find efficiencies through consolidation, but Barbin said the charter schools should be included in that discussion.
There are about 170 charter and cyber schools, which receive funding based on the same formulas used to allocate state tax dollars to school districts. Barbin says the structure makes the charters de-facto school districts, bringing the total to about 670 districts.
Barbin says charters receive $1.5 billion of the $6.5 billion in basic education funding.
“Cyber schools, as a whole, have an abysmal performance record,” Barbin said.