Save My Special Education Student

Letter to Governor Corbett - Dr. James Hanak.

CEO, PA Leadership Charter School.

Dear Governor Corbett,

I am sitting at my home computer late this Thursday evening contemplating the unique opportunity that Republicans have to reshape Pennsylvania and America this year. Yet, our Republican leadership seems to be throwing that opportunity away without thought or care.

Today, I learned that the Republican Leaders in the House and Senate have introduced identical bills that will cut funding for Special Education Students potentially in half for PA Charter Schools

(SB1316 and HB2138). For our school, we would lose 36% of the Special Education funding that we receive through the current funding formula.

This is astounding. Parents seek out PA Charter Schools because these schools take the IDEA law(s) seriously. We carefully and sensitively, attend to the needs of any students who have unique learning issues.

These issues are not easy to diagnose and even harder to remediate. Special education students require additional specialized services compared to a regular education student. Additional revenues received are used to pay for extensive therapies, support and highly qualified staff. We spend 100% of all designated Special Education funding, on our Special Education students. There are PA Charter Schools exclusively dedicated to providing Special Education Services that will be devastated by these cuts.

I am so confused. All of the following are sponsored this year and supported by Republicans:

  • House Bill 618 - would cut funding for some charter schools by more than 5%
  • Senate Bill 1085 - would cut funding for all charter schools by 10%
  • Senate Bill 1316 and house Bill 2138 - would cut funding for Special Education Students.

There are numerous reductions, and eliminations in funding for Charter Schools, yet, you are proposing to increase funding in other areas across education.

I believed the Republican party was:

  • The Party for parental choice
  • The party that created and supported Charter Schools
  • The party that truly cared about the plight of financially disadvantaged families.

Can you understand my confusion and my consternation? Can you offer some clarification? 


Dr James Hanak.

CEO, PA Leadership Charter School.