By Mike DeNardo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS)  –– The Philadelphia school district plans to open its own online cyber school this fall.

The cash-strapped district pays more than $50 million a year for the 6000 Philadelphia students who choose cyber charters over district schools.

Superintendent William Hite says in an effort to keep that money in house, the district plans to open its own cyber called the Philadelphia Virtual Academy in September.

“Here in Philadelphia we want to begin competing for students. And we want to begin reclaiming some of the students who have chosen other options,” Hite says.

Students would be given laptops, and would attend classes online. The school would be operated by the Chester County Intermediate Unit, which runs cyber programs for 38 other school districts.

Hite says Philadelphia hopes to have 1000 students in its cyber school. If 85 of them shift from cyber charters, Hite says the district should break even.

The Philadelphia cyber-school is up for approval at tonight’s School Reform Commission meeting.

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