Tuition voucher bill will strip state funds from struggling Pa. schools

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Tuition voucher bill will strip state funds from struggling Pa. schools

For further information contact:
Chris Lilienthal (717) 255-7134
David Broderic (717) 255-7169

HARRISBURG, PA (April 27, 2022) – The Pennsylvania House of Representatives voted today on a bill that will strip millions in state funding from public school districts, charter schools, and cyber charter schools in need of more support, not less, to meet the needs of students.

“House Bill 2169 will take state funding from public schools where students need it most and give it to private and religious schools without any accountability for how the money is spent,” said PSEA President Rich Askey. “This is a shockingly irresponsible tuition voucher proposal that will end up hurting Pennsylvania’s students and wasting taxpayers’ money.”

House Bill 2169 will do the following:

  • Tuition vouchers will be provided to parents of children who attend a public school district, charter school, cyber charter school, intermediate unit, or area career and technical school that is among the lowest-performing 15%.
  • The tuition voucher could be used to pay tuition at a private, religious, or other public school and to cover books and other instructional materials.
  • Parents would have the option of using a debit card to pay tuition or other expenses, creating a situation ripe for abuse.
  • The bill lacks any academic accountability beyond a parent satisfaction survey for the private or religious school that receives the tuition voucher.

“These vouchers could be used to pay tuition at private and religious schools or diverted to other expenses, including higher education tuition, tutoring, textbooks, curriculum, test fees, hardware, and internet services,” Askey said.

“There is no accountability for how these funds are spent. There are no income limits for families receiving vouchers, meaning even very wealthy families could use this new program to fund private school tuition. And there is definitely no accountability to determine whether these vouchers will help students learn.

“It’s hard to imagine a worse voucher plan than this one. At a time when students everywhere need more academic and mental health supports in our public schools, this is the absolute last thing we should be doing.”

An affiliate of the National Education Association, PSEA represents about 178,000 active and retired educators and school employees, student teachers, higher education staff, and health care workers in Pennsylvania.