This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
Four cyber charters are appealing a case in Delaware County that reduced their funding for special education students last month.
In that decision, Judge Chad Kenney ruled that the Chester Upland School District could reduce special education tuition payments to all charters from $40,000 a student to just over $27,000.
That ruling came after a two months of hearings on an adequate financial recovery plan for a school district plagued by debt for the last two decades. Kenney also ordered the state to include more money for Chester Upland in its general education budget.
The cuts to special education tuition payments would save the school district over $10 million a year. The state-appointed school district receiver, Frances Barnes, had been seeking a reduction from $40,000 to $16,000, the amount determined fair by a bipartisan commission on special education.
About half of Chester Upland students go to charters. The largest charter operators, which operate brick-and-mortar schools, agreed to the reduction before the ruling. The cyber charters, which serve students across the state, did not.