-- Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson): “Senate Republican Leadership understood the gravity of the 2017-18 state budget that was supported by most House and Senate members. The Commonwealth’s revenue situation is dire and the Senate worked efficiently to address it. Difficult decisions were made and we certainly did not come to the components of the revenue package lightly.”
-- Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-Centre): “We understand the severity of the Commonwealth’s finances. It’s this reason that the Senate acted quickly last week to adopt a reasonable revenue package to fund the spending plan approved by the House and Senate. We have an obligation to govern and make the difficult decisions that will move toward steadying our financial footing.”
Sens. John DiSanto, Joseph B. Scarnati III and John H. Eichelberger Jr. published a memo announcing their plan to create education savings accounts to help students attending low-achieving schools obtain nonpublic schooling. The ESAs would be held by the state Treasury. The accounts would receive the average state funding per pupil—and would be deducted from the local district’s state education subsidies of that student. Special education students would get, according to the memo, that amount multiplied by the “appropriate category weight as specified in the special education funding formula.” ESA users would not be allowed to enroll in any public school. ESA funds would be used to pay Department of Education-approved education providers and expenses the student chose. Proposed expenses, under the memorandum, include tuition and fees at participating private schools; payment for a licensed or accredited tutor; fees for tests and exams; industry certifications; textbooks; and special education occupation, speech and behavioral therapies.
Posted: July 7, 2017 09:21 AM
From: Senator John DiSanto, Sen. Joseph B. Scarnati, III, Sen. John H. Eichelberger, Jr.
To: All Senate members
Subject: Education Savings Accounts for Students in Underperforming Schools
Too many Pennsylvania children are relegated to persistently underperforming schools based on nothing more than a home address. Pennsylvania’s existing school choice programs—charter schools and scholarship tax credits—are vital lifelines for many of these children. But demand for these options greatly outpaces supply, as evidenced by heartbreaking stories of charter lotteries and scholarship organizations forced to turn away thousands of deserving applicants every year.
Chronic low performance and abysmal graduation rates fail to prepare our students for college or careers. Clearly, there is an urgency to serve families who do not have the means or the good fortune to enroll in a high-quality school.
Associated Press writers Andrew Taylor and Alan Fram contributed.
September 19 @ 5:00 PM - 8:00 PM Hilton Reading