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Cyber schools drain resources

Amy Stewart, Warren County School District superintendent, is right when she says online learning has a place during the COVID-19 pandemic.

While online offerings are needed right now, state officials should take a hard look at cyber charter schools that are not only a drain on local school district budgets but also ineffective at educating students.

Locally, there are 126 students who live in the Warren County School District who attend cyber charter schools outside the district. Cyber charters offer free tuition to families, but collect money from local school districts.

That’s a drain of resources for the rest of the families who pay their school taxes.

Of even greater concern than the drain of local resources is the poorer education many cyber charter students receive.

A 2019 Stanford University study showed cyber charter students lose an average of 106 days of learning in reading and about 118 days of learning in math compared to children who attend brick-and-mortar charter schools.

County school district officials also said recently cyber charter schools graduate roughly 58% of their students.

Cyber charter rules have been essentially unchanged for 19 years.

The state Legislature should not let that streak continue into a second decade.

It’s high time for cyber charter schools to be held to the same educational standards as their brick-and-mortar peers — or else have the plug pulled.

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