Senate Education Committee Approves Bill to Save Students from Failing Schools

HARRISBURG (May 22, 2018) – The Senate Education Committee, chaired by Senator John H. Eichelberger, Jr., (R-Blair), today passed a monumental bill to save students from the worst schools across Pennsylvania.

“This legislation provides a lifeline to students who desperately need to escape schools that are failing them,” said Senator Eichelberger. “Parents will finally gain the resources and ability to choose where and how their children can receive the best education possible.”

Senate Bill 2, sponsored by Senator John DiSanto, (R-Dauphin), creates Educational Savings Accounts (ESAs) for students who attend a low-achieving public school ranked in the bottom 15 percent in the state.

“ESAs fulfill the mission of public education, which is to ensure all children have access to a high-quality education and can reach their maximum potential,” said Senator DiSanto. “Let’s give kids in the poorest performing public schools a real opportunity to get the education that works for them.”

To be clear, ESAs are not vouchers; they are grants in the amount of the average state funding per student, held in an account administered by the state Department of the Treasury.  Parents can spend money from the account only on approved educational purposes, such as tuition at a private school, tutoring, curriculum and textbooks, and services for students with special needs.  The funds will be transferred electronically from the state directly to the providers.

Senate Bill 2 will now go before the full Senate for consideration.

For additional information, please contact Lee Derr, Senate Education Committee Executive Director, at 717-787-5490 or lderr@pasen.gov, or Patrick Schurr, Executive Assistant, at 866-509-3424 or pschurr@pasen.gov.