State Senate Takes Up School Voucher Bill

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — This afternoon, the state Senate began consideration of a school voucher bill.

Its supporters say it will create competition to make public schools better, but some worry about its impact on public education.

Should state tax dollars be redirected from public schools to private or parochial schools by giving some parents a voucher if their kids attend the worst public schools?

That’s what the school voucher issue is all about and public school advocates like Patrick Sable, CFO at the Allegheny Intermediate Unit that represents the county’s 42 school districts, are worried.

“Monies are leaving school districts to go to religious or charter or private schools at the expense of those students who are remaining behind in that school district,” Sable told KDKA-TV Political Editor Jon Delano.

Under the school voucher bill being debated in Harrisburg, only some would get school choice.

If this bill is enacted, the poorest children based on family income from the 144 lowest-performing schools in the Commonwealth would be eligible for state taxpayer-paid for vouchers to attend private or religious schools.

In this area, that would include families with children at Oliver, Westinghouse, or Wilkinsburg high schools — or Sto-Rox or Wilkinsburg middle schools — or the following grade schools: Arlington, Clairton, Fairless, Johnston, King, Murray, Northview, Stevens, Sto-Rox, Woodland Hills, Woolslair, Duquesne Consolidated, or the Faison Arts Academy.

The vouchers range from $5,700 in Woodland Hills to nearly $14,000 in Duquesne and come out of the state subsidy to those local public school districts.

Some lawmakers worry that taking that money from poor performing school districts will only make things worse.

“It’s the students that are left behind and the school buildings left behind with fewer resources, that is a major concern to a lot of folks,” says State Sen. Jay Costa, D-Forest Hills.

“When you pull those funds away from a school that is doing well as long as the resources are there,” adds Sable, “even though they may be in a less affluent area, it really hurts their public school system.”

Whether school vouchers hurt public schools — or create an incentive for them to improve — is the big debate in Harrisburg.

Another issue: is it constitutional to send public tax dollars to private and religious institutions?

The Senate may vote on the voucher bill later tonight.

The House has not yet scheduled the measure for consideration.

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  • Thomas J Duttine

    You can throw money at public schools for 50 more years and they still won’t work…Try something else…anything else!

    • Hwright

      Are you a product and many others prospering in the public from a PUBLIC SCHOOL??????? YES Go ahead and destroy the public schools the united states will be destroyed along with it!!! Just another way to promote the Rich! THERE ISNT A MAGICAL DUST OUT THERE THAT WILL JUST BE SPRINKLED ON THE STUDENTS TO MAKE THEM LEARN BETTER IN A PRIVATE OR ONLINE SCHOOL JUST FACE IT!!! You people make me SICK! Keep promoting corporate GREED!!!

      • 2012 comming fast

        The only thing I prospered on was getting out of public school and going to a better school which I worked 2 jobs to do Hwright , public schools suck.
        I also want you to know you make me SICK, so go ahead and keep promoting your union propaganda, your comments only show what hatred you show toward a class of people that work for what they got you lazy think your entitled, big mouth know it all as#..

      • hwright

        and by the way have fun buying the presidency 2012….

      • Hwright

        Thats it keep on attacking the kids through working americans I will laugh my A$$$ off when its your job! BECOME A TEACHER AND YOU WILL SEE HOW LAZY IT IS…….

  • Della

    Boons can’t be taught don’t go putting them in suburban and Catholic schools to get all the fat white girls knocked up

  • lockdown24/7

    Were all better off on welfare and selling drugs, so you get everything handed to you without earning it. Now these kids will be selling drugs in catholic schools.Its not the school it the kids and mostly the parents of the kids that are making poor schools.The parents don’t care if their kids are educated. Teachers can’t teach kids that don’t want to learn…….BUILD MORE PRISONS

    • Hwright

      These people will never understand that! They are so wrapped up in getting what they want when they want it and if they dont they just get a lawyer and SUE. Pennsyvania really doesnt know what they are doing to society!

      • Hwright

        No nowhere near lazy just I know what todays teachers go through and what they do! YOU DO NOT! All you know is the Republicans think education isnt important and tax money goes to paying educators is wrong! All of a sudden this is something NEW???????? NO IT ISNT!!!!! Republicans stealing money from the tax revenue, social security and medicare for WAR is whats new in the last 10 years!

      • Whatever fusspot

        They are so wrapped up in getting what they want, you say, sounds like you Hwrite you lazy think your entitled know it all thug.
        I hope they do buy the election either way the communists are on their way out.

  • 10/27 Morning Buzz | PoliticsPA

    […] Marcellus legislation, minus the impact fee Early Returns: Fitz, O’Connor on Harrisburg committee KDKA: State Senate takes up school voucher bill Indiana Gazette: Campaign 2011: Judge, DA candidates […]

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