PA Cyber School Announces Restructuring Across Pennsylvania

PITTSBURGH, Pa. (EYT) – Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School, one of the leading cyber charter schools in Pennsylvania, announced yesterday a strategic restructuring to support current and projected enrollment, and to align staffing to operate in response to changes in funding levels.

As part of the restructuring, PA Cyber will eliminate 43 positions from a total of 700 full-time and part-time positions. Twenty-one of the affected positions are teachers. Twenty-two of the affected positions are non-teaching.

This restructuring follows a comprehensive review where the school evaluated every facet of its operations. PA Cyber renegotiated external contracts for curriculum, technology and managed services; consolidated internal and external operational functions; and adjusted its instructional model to achieve approximately $12 million in cost savings.

“While these cost savings closed the gap, they did not get us where we needed to be,” said Dr. Michael Conti, CEO of PA Cyber. “The next step was to implement a restructuring that enables PA Cyber to strategically allocate resources to best meet the needs of our students, while ensuring we operate within our current budget.”

At the same time over the past year, PA Cyber updated and strengthened policies centered on student performance and truancy. The school reported that academic programs or services will not be affected by the restructuring, and that the quality of its curriculum will continue to be advanced.

“The quality of PA Cyber’s curriculum and student services will not change,” said Conti. “No department will be understaffed, and every function throughout the organization will continue to meet the full range of student needs.”

“Throughout our decision-making we have worked to limit the impact on as few employees as possible, while working to maintain and preserve the integrity all of our existing academic programs and services,” Conti said. “After that, decisions were made within affected departments where we identified areas where staffing levels exceeded student needs. These decisions were based on seniority.”

As a public charter school, not a private school, PA Cyber does not charge tuition. The majority of the school’s operating revenue originates from students’ Local Education Agencies (LEAs), and federal and state agencies. In 2014, the Pennsylvania state legislature and the prior gubernatorial administration worked to change the way cyber charter schools are funded and to increase accountability measures for all public schools.

Enrollment at PA Cyber has declined from its peak in 2013 of 11,500 to a current enrollment of approximately 10,000. Conti said fluctuating enrollment is due in part to increased competition from some local school districts offering online learning options, along with some consolidation among students and families who have embraced PA Cyber’s more rigorous academic and performance standards.

“We’re confident that by building our brand around a high-quality cyber school education and student performance, and by approaching these challenges as opportunities to continuously improve and innovate, PA Cyber will get stronger and enrollment levels will trend higher,” he said.

About PA Cyber

Serving students in kindergarten through 12th grade, the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School (PA Cyber) is one of the largest, most experienced, and most successful online public schools in the nation. PA Cyber’s online learning environments, personalized instructional methods, and choices of curricula connect Pennsylvania students and their families with state-certified and highly-qualified teachers, and rich academic content that is aligned to state standards. Founded in 2000, PA Cyber is headquartered in Midland (Beaver County) and maintains a network of support offices throughout the state. As a public school, PA Cyber is open for enrollment by any school-age child residing in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and does not charge tuition to students or families.

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