SHARON, Pa. (WKBN) – Pennsylvania State Representative Mark Longietti says the state ranks low in the country for school funding. On Wednesday, the House Democratic Policy Committee held a hearing to discuss the importance of bringing more funds to public schools and lowering property taxes.

Level Up Funding is a proposal to bring equitable funding to public schools in Pennsylvania. Longietti says the funds that are allocated to charter schools are unnecessarily high.

“We want to keep charter and cyber charters as an option, but we shouldn’t overpay them. You know, for example, a special education student from Sharon that goes to a cyber charter school, they’re being paid twice as much as the average cost,” Longietti said.

He says charter schools are profiting rather than maximizing the dollar.

“We shouldn’t enrich the operators of these schools at the expense of taxpayers,” Longietti said.

He says the real issue with overpaying the charter schools is that tax dollars are pulled from the community, leaving taxpayers to make up the difference.

“Taxpayers are overpaying when kids go to a cyber charter school. In Sharon, that’s about a million dollars of taxpayer money that could be saved,” Longietti said.

Mercer County commissioner Tim McGonigle says the public school system is important for developing the economy.

“The heartbeat of the community is the schools. If we don’t have good schools, we don’t have good products coming out of here. So we need good students to fill jobs and replace people that are going into retirement,” McGonigle said.

McGonigle says students are the community’s future, which is why fair funding is so important.

“In some cases, our schools are struggling already. So, we don’t want to take money from our public schools and unfairly give them away and have them go out to the charter schools,” McGonigle said.

He says public schools allow everyone to get an education, which is extremely important.