HARRISBURG – Sen. Scott Martin (R-13), the chair of the Senate Education Committee, and other members of the committee voted to advance a legislative package that would prioritize the role of parents and guardians in the educational process and give them greater control as they advocate for their children.
All Senate bills are sponsored by Sen. Martin. House Bill 1660 is sponsored by Rep. Curt Sonney (R-4) and House Bill 1642 is sponsored by Rep. Martina White (R-170). The amendments for both House Bills were sponsored by Senator Martin.
“Our teachers do a phenomenal job educating our children, but undoubtedly, the best advocates for students are their parents or guardians. The bills the committee advanced today will pave the way for a partnership between the two, providing students with the strongest foundation for success,” Sen. Martin said.
House Bill 1660 originally would have limited a school’s ability to shut down in-person education to 60 days for communicable diseases, rather than the four years that is currently allowed with. However, it was amended to limit shutdowns to 21 days with one extension of 21 days.
House Bill 1642,which focuses on students who attend economically disadvantaged schools through EITC and OSTC program reforms, was amended to expand the number of eligible students as well as increases scholarship amounts from up to $1,000 to up to $2,000 or up to a $4,000 if they are attending a secondary school.
Senate Bill 931 would make changes to the EITC and OSTC programs to explicitly state that payments received from any governmental agency because of the pandemic cannot be included in calculating household income when determining eligibility.
Senate Bill 932 would also revise the current definition of “school-related fees” within the context of the EITC and OSTC programs to allow for the use of program dollars for dual enrollment.
Dual enrollment courses offered to secondary education students are known to be more affordable and can put students on a path to potentially graduate early from their post-secondary training, which could save them thousands of dollars in tuition and interest from student loan debt.
Senate Bill 933 would allow for the designees of members of the General Assembly on the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Board of Governors to vote on behalf of the members when a member cannot be present.
Senate Bill 935 would require every educational facility that accepts Commonwealth tax dollars to post the preamble to the United States Constitution in its entrance.
In addition, the Senate Education Committee voted to approve a letter to be sent to the Independent Regulatory Review Commission to convey objections to the Department of Education’s Charter School and Cyber Charter School proposed regulation #6-349.
The letter was drafted after conducting a hearing on the proposed regulations and it expresses various concerns discussed by stakeholders. Among them include the issue of the administration using the regulatory process to circumvent the legislature and cut out elected representatives. Additionally, the proposed regulations would limit charter school actions to pursue money that is legally owed to them.
Having been passed by the committee, the bills now advance to the full Senate for consideration.
CONTACT: Terry Trego, 717-787-6535