Date of Conferral
Public Policy and Administration
Charter and cyber charter schools were legislatively permitted to operate as publicly funded educational institutions in Pennsylvania with the passage of Act 22 of 1997. Examining the tuition payments from traditional school districts funding charter schools and resulting economic, operational, and programmatic impacts on traditional K-12 education was the purpose of this study. Conflict theory provided the theoretical framework which proposes that inequity and competition for limited resources is the result of powerful groups exerting their influence on the greater society. This study's research questions focused on determining the impact tuition payments to charter schools had on public K-12 student achievement, economic, and operational decisions. This study utilized a mixed method data collection design on the perceptions and experiences of K-12 school district superintendents and secondary building principals in 45 school districts within a 3-county region in Pennsylvania. The qualitative interviews were analyzed for credibility, transferability, dependability, and objectivity. The quantitative surveys were analyzed for mean, median, mode, range, variance, and standard deviation. The findings of this research study affirmed conflict theory and resulting economic, operational, and programmatic impacts on public K-12 education. Positive social change implications of this study include recommendations that Pennsylvania's legislature undertake an evaluation and reassessment into the long-term funding equity and sustainability of charter schools and public K-12 education.