SB1 Middle Class Vouchers Addition Seems A Small Bone Thrown

SB 1, the school choice bill pending in the Pennsylvania legislature, was reported out of the Senate Appropriations Committee, yesterday, April 11, on a 15-11 vote with the  addition of it now providing vouchers to “middle class” students starting in the 2014-2015 school year. These “middle class” vouchers, however, would be funded by part of an excess scholarship fund so it seems a rather small bone to be thrown to the Tea Party groups looking out for the middle class.

And the latest version of the bill, PN 1031, also now limits the aggregate amount of all opportunity scholarships awarded to low-income children  starting in the 2013-2014 school year to $250 million

The vote was generally party-line although Democrats Lisa Boscola and Lawrence Farnese voted for it and Republicans Lisa Baker and Stewart Greenleaf voted against it.

Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, whose 9th District includes large parts of Delaware and Chester counties and is an ex-officio member of the committee, voted for it.

The latest version, also among other things, changes  the methodology for defining the lowest performing five percent of schools; changes some of the reporting requirements; removes specific dates on the timeline;  penalties for misuse of scholarships, which includes disqualification from future eligibility for an opportunity scholarship; and requires participating non-public schools to  annually a standardized achievement test.

The new version also would create a “public school choice demonstration grant program”, which would let a school district establish a program of tuition grants for resident students who wish to attend a nonresident public school.

One thought on “SB1 Middle Class Vouchers Addition Seems A Small Bone Thrown”

  1. A small bone thrown?
    I’ll take a few small bones and make a tasty and nourishing “education” soup out of them.
    Let’s keep going for anything we can get. All American kids need and deserve a good education.
    We need school choice and vouchers for all of our kids.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.