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Why PA may finally tackle cyber charter reform

Plus, an update on Penn State buyouts.

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A daily newsletter by The logo of Spotlight PA, an independent, nonpartisan newsroom producing investigative journalism for Pennsylvania.
Your Postmaster: Spotlight PA staff

Monday, June 10, 2024
Today: Cyber charters, hospital danger, pension payments, buyout offers, discrimination probe, and a UArts investigation. 
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Pennsylvania’s public school districts could save roughly $530 million annually if the legislature makes long-sought changes to how cyber charters are funded.

Democratic and Republican lawmakers told Spotlight PA such reforms could be included in this year’s budget, which is expected to focus on education.

The Democratic-controlled state House is already moving a sweeping bill that would cap the tuition that districts pay to cyber charters, change the tuition calculation for disabled students, and increase oversight.

Read Spotlight PA's full report: Cyber charter changes that could save public schools $530M may be in this year’s budget


"Over the summer months, Mr. Santos intends to make regular visits to Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania, which is located approximately 7 miles north of Mt. Pocono."

A lawyer for former U.S. Rep. George Santos, who wants to make weekly visits to the Poconos this summer as he awaits trial on federal charges
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QUEERING THE NEWS: Join us Thursday, June 13 from 6-7 p.m. ET on Zoom for a free discussion with a panel of experts on Pennsylvania’s queer media landscape — past, present, and future. Register for the event here and submit your questions to events@spotlightpa.org.
A snake on a trail at Raccoon Creek State Park in Beaver County, via Debbie P. Have a photo of your own to share? Send it to us by email, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania
A black snake, head raised in vegetation.
Today's top news story in Pennsylvania.
'INCOMPLETELY DATED': A new lawsuit argues Lancaster County's rejections of "incompletely dated" primary mail ballots was illegal, WGAL reports. At least 22 counties opted not to count ballots without the full year on the return envelope, per Votebeat's Carter Walker. There's been litigation on both sides of the issue ahead of November.
Today's second top news story in Pennsylvania.
ALLEGED DANGER: State investigators say two newborn babies at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Hazleton died under similar circumstances after on-call doctors arrived late. The Morning Call (paywall) has more on the state investigation, which determined the hospital put patients in “immediate jeopardy."
Today's third top news story in Pennsylvania.
PENSION PAYMENTS: A retired western Pennsylvania police officer who pleaded guilty to being involved in methamphetamine distribution is still collecting her pension, per TribLIVE. Regina McAtee has received about $56,500 in pension payments since Aug. 1, and Greensburg's solicitor said the city is determining if she is eligible to continue collecting.
Today's fourth top news story in Pennsylvania.
OFFERS ACCEPTED: Preliminary reports indicate that 20% of eligible Commonwealth Campus employees accepted Penn State's buyout offer, WPSU reports. As Spotlight PA previously reported, the school is trying to reduce its multimillion-dollar budget deficit
Today's fifth top news story in Pennsylvania.
DISCRIMINATION PROBE: Scott Curtis was an FBI agent when he led a corruption probe into former Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski that led to jail time. Now, the city has hired his private investigation firm to look into allegations of discrimination, WFMZ reports.
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🤔 NEXT QUESTION: Are you on top of the news? Prove it with the latest edition of the Great PA News Quiz: Minimum wage to the max, Shapiro's radio hour, and Biden's border order.
CLOSURE PROBE: Pennsylvania's attorney general is "reviewing the circumstances" of the abrupt closure of the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, per the New York Times (gift link). 

AUTO ADMISSION: Point Park University is offering automatic admission and a semester of free campus housing to a limited number of displaced UArts students. At least 175 have expressed interest, per TribLIVE.

NEW TOLLS: Turnpike travelers in eastern Pennsylvania should see "open road tolling," meaning no stopping or slowing down, starting in January. Western Pennsylvania's rollout date is in 2027, via PUP News.

IN MEMORIAM: A 102-year-old World War II veteran raised near Pittsburgh died while traveling to a D-Day ceremony in France last week, NBC News reports. Robert Persichitti suffered a medical episode en route to Normandy.

WORLD WIDE: Philly's own Tierra Whack performed on NPR's Tiny Desk series recently for Black Music Month. Come for "fresh arrangements of [her] biggest cuts," and stay for a Phanatic cameo.
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Unscramble and send your answer to scrambler@spotlightpa.org. We'll shout out winners here, and one each week will get some Spotlight PA swag. Answers submitted by 5:30 p.m. on issue date will be counted.

Friday's answer: Wildflower

Congrats to our weekly winner: Barbara K.

Congrats to our daily winners: Bob C., Tracy S., Jane R., Don H., Beth H., Bruce B., Stacy S., Gerry L. Jon W., Timothy A., Sara E., Pat E., Julie K., Sue S., Ted W., Jody A., Lynne E., Richard A., Elaine C., Judith D., Beth T., Karen W., Daniel D., Susan N., Jackie S., Susan R., Kimberly D., Eric F., Alan B., John P., Annette I., Frederick H., Wendy A., Daniel S., Stanley J., William Z., Jeffrey F., Karen K., Eddy Z., Tom M., sue87521, John C., Perry H., Craig E., David M., Marc G., Kat H., Leslie B., John H., David W., Leann T., and Jill M.
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