January 4, 2013 – A growing number of western Pennsylvania students attending taxpayer-funded charter schools is changing public education, as parents take advantage of school choice. The number of students choosing a charter school in 23 western Pennsylvania districts has increased from 1,500 in 2008-09 to 2,300 this year — or by 52 percent, according to a survey in October. The Legislature approved charter schools in 1997 to give parents an alternative to their home districts. Nationwide, the schools have been a lightning rod for criticism, as some districts lose millions of dollars per year with the number of students going to charters.
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