The Garnet Valley School District understands that families in today's complex society need flexibility and options to meet their child's individual educational needs. We also understand that working with one of the top school districts in the country that has high quality, certified, innovative teachers is also important. To that end, in 2015, Garnet Valley expanded its existing educational offerings to include original credit, continuous learning courses and accelerated and credit recovery options offered in online and blended learning formats throughout the school year and over the summer.
Background on the Underlining Charter School Issue
Charter schools are publicly funded, privately run educational organizations that exist with little to no oversight or accountability. Since 1997, when Pennsylvanian first authorized four charters in Philadelphia, the number of charters and cyber charters in the state has grown exponentially. The most recent PDE data shows Pennsylvania is home to 182 charter schools (155 brick and mortar, 16 cyber, and 11 regional), with a student enrollment of 138,400 (4% increase from 2016). Suburban schools districts in our area sent to charter schools approximately $216 million in 2016, up $73 million from the previous 5 years. Charters collected $46 million in special education fees, yet only spent $27 million on special education services according to PDE. Recent PDE data shows charters spent 17% of their revenue on administrative costs.
Cyber charter schools have also faced controversy over their academic performance and management, in Pennsylvania, most don’t even have current state charters that would officially sanction their operations. Of the state’s 15 cyber charters, 10 are operating with expired charters.
Consequently, we knew we could provide a better educational experience for students, offer better flexibility for families, and do it with a better curriculum, better teachers, and at a substantially low cost. Garnet Valley is now expanding this program to other school districts in the area through cooperating agreements.
Benefits to Cooperating School District
The cooperating school district can offer a better online learning experience to its students currently enrolled in or considering a charter or cyber charter school.
The cooperating school district’s savings per student will be between $2,000 - $6,000 for a regular education student and between $8,000 - $20,000 for a student with special education needs.
The cooperating school district can choose to include Garnet Valley’s Professional Services Agreement that includes high-level, multi-year, staff development in the areas of Open Education Resources, Differentiated Professional Learning, and Online and Blended Teaching and Learning.
Charter School vs. eSchool@GarnetValley Example cost comparison
eSchool@GarnetValley’s reach includes students either coming into eSchool or completing coursework from 16 different states and 6 different countries