State Rep. James Roebuck
- More tax money being spent: The bill would spend $100 million on vouchers in its first year, rising to $200 million in the third year. Both figures are higher than in any previous voucher bill, Roebuck said.
- Higher income limit: Families with incomes of up to $75,000 could get a voucher. "That is not directed at low-income families – a $75,000 income is not poor," he said.
- Higher amount per voucher: The bill would provide the highest private-school voucher amounts ever proposed in a Pennsylvania bill – $8,500 for non-disabled students and $15,000 for students with disabilities. Roebuck said some private schools would be likely to classify as many students as possible as having disabilities, such as reading disabilities.
- No phase-in to focus on public-school students: Previous voucher bills have included a phase-in that would restrict the program to students currently enrolled in public schools. The new bill does not.
- Bailout for private schools: Roebuck said the lack of a phase-in would mean 85 to 90 percent of the students getting a voucher would already be in private schools. "That is not how the bill is being sold, but that would be the result," he said.
- Leaving the choice to the private schools, not the students: Like all Pennsylvania voucher bills, the legislation would not require private schools or neighboring public school districts to accept any student with a voucher. "Once again, the private schools would do the choosing, not the students," Roebuck said.