It took many hours of work, many months of waiting, and untold tax dollars wasted on high-priced lawyers paid for by Commonwealth Charter Academy, but we finally are as close as we’ll ever be to knowing how much CCA paid for students to march in the 6abc Dunkin’ Donuts Thanksgiving Parade with Jerold the Bookworm and for a promotional spot on TV during the parade.
After months of extensive communications back and forth with the Office of Open Records and CCA lawyers, we learned that CCA’s costs associated with the 6abc Dunkin’ Donuts Thanksgiving Parade were a piece of an overall advertising buy that was made by Target Media. Because CCA did not have an invoice with this cost itemized, our Right to Know request was denied, as the record we were seeking does not exist.
We filed a new Right to Know request with CCA for Target Media invoices on March 14th. CCA requested a 30-day extension for this request because, apparently, they needed 30 days to photocopy 8 sheets of paper (LOL).
Partially redacted invoices from Target Media from August 8, 2022 to November 19, 2022 show that CCA paid out $632,553 to Target Media during these four months.
According to CCA’s response to the Office of Open Records, CCA’s costs associated with the 6abc Dunkin’ Donuts Thanksgiving Parade should be included somewhere in this amount, so we can never know exactly how much this parade appearance and promotional spot cost.
What we DO know is that the $632,000 CCA paid to Target Media over a four-month period could have paid for seven or eight teachers, nurses, counselors, or librarians to work in a school with students for a full year.
And the money wasted on Jerold the Bookworm is just a handful of coins in the Scrooge McDuck pool of money that is wasted by cyber charter schools in Pennsylvania. Every. Single Year.
Our property taxes go up to pay cyber charter tuition bills.
Students in our local public schools go without the resources they need.
And, thanks to legislative leaders in Harrisburg who refuse to allow a vote on legislation that would rein in charter school costs, cyber charter schools are awash in excess funding (our school tax dollars) that they waste.
Click HERE to tell your state lawmakers to support funding reforms that will align charter tuition rates with actual costs by setting a flat rate for cyber charter school students and by using the special education funding formula to determine tuition payments to all charters for students with disabilities.
And–keep an eye out later this week for an email with fact sheets that will tell you how much your school district will save with charter school funding reforms that enjoy strong bipartisan support in Harrisburg. Spoiler alert: most districts would save *a lot*.