Yesterday, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Editorial Board called on the state legislature to modify Pennsylvania’s Charter School Law, after a review of tax filings for Lincoln Learning Solutions (LLS), conducted by Eugene DePasquale. The review found that LLS, a charter management company that drew criticism after receiving over $100 million in taxpayer funds by Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School for “curriculum services” that were repeatedly delayed, held a fund balance of $82 million.
There is currently no mechanism to track how LLS or any other charter management company uses taxpayer funds. An issue Eugene will work to address in Congress not just for Pennsylvania but nationally.
Candidate for Pennsylvania’s 10th Congressional District, Eugene DePasquale, released the following statement:
“As a father, I know there is nothing more important to a parent than making sure our children are safe and set up to succeed throughout their lives. That is why it’s so critical to ensure that all of our schools are providing the children in our community with the best possible education,” said DePasquale
“Our schools should be places of learning and community, not centers of profit for private companies. When I represent PA-10 in Congress, I will hold Betsy Devos, and her friends looking to get rich off privatizing education, accountable every single day.”
The current law bars oversight of charter management companies’ use of tax dollars, leading to the Editorial Board’s call for increased oversight:
The state Legislature should review the charter school law and address the serious shortcomings in tracking where the money goes.
Auditor General Eugene DePasquale recently reviewed the tax filings of Lincoln Learning Solutions, which manages two Midland-based schools — the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School, one of the largest cyber schools in the state, and Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School. The charter management company listed a staggering fund balance of nearly $82 million in the 2018-18 fiscal year, which was tens of millions of dollars more than the reserve funds of other charter management companies similarly reviewed.
Although LLS, a registered nonprofit organization, is almost entirely funded by public sources, Mr. DePasquale said it is nearly impossible to track how the management company spends the tax dollars allocated to the charter schools and then passed on to LLS in management and other fees.