Wednesday, April 27, 2011

John Micek Capitol Ideas Blog: Senate Repubs, Corbett Reach Agreement On Voucher Bill.

Allentown Morning Call Capitol Ideas Blog

John Micek, April 27, 5:49 p,m,

Senate Repubs, Corbett Reach Agreement On Voucher Bill.

Senate Republicans And Gov. Tom Corbett have apparently resolved their differences over a stalled school vouchers bill,  Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, R-Delaware, said this afternoon.

Because we have friends in all the wrong places, here's the amendatory language that's under consideration (this part is strictly for the Trainspotters amongst you):

·         Effective date of Implementation of Opportunity Scholarships and EITC increase/changes delayed until July 1, 2012.

·         New timeline as a result:

·         2012-2013 – Year One – Low-income children in failing schools eligible for Opportunity

·         Scholarships;

·         2013-2014 – Year Two – Low-income children in attendance boundaries of failing schools;

·         2014-2015 – Year Three – All low-income children statewide.

·         As a result, there will be no significant budgetary costs in the upcoming fiscal year.

·         Year Three Opportunity Scholarship recipients will be capped at 3% of the previous year's Basic Education Funding (BEF) appropriation – projected at approximately $163 million in 2014-2015.

·         PDE will administer the program.

·         The Education Opportunity Board will remain in place in an advisory capacity and to approve the guidelines issued by PDE.

·         The Governor will appoint the initial three members of the Education Opportunity Board with successor appointments confirmed by the Senate (modeled after the Philadelphia School Reform Commission).

·         PDE's definition of "LOW-ACHIEVING SCHOOLS" will be utilized with a separate ranking of elementary and secondary schools focusing on the bottom 5% of combined math and reading scores on most recent PSSA.

·         In Year Four (2015-2016):

·         Entire amount in the Excess Fund will start funding the Public School Choice Demonstration Grants for school districts to establish their own tuition grant programs (Public to Public) and for funding the Middle-Income Scholarship Program;

·         Middle-Income Scholarship Program eligibility will increase to 350% of Federal Poverty ($78,225 for a family of four).


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