Thursday, January 20, 2011

Upcoming Battle Over Vouchers

Opponents of a school vouchers program are honing their arguments against a measure that’s been pegged as a top priority for Governor Tom Corbett and Pennsylvania’s other Republican leaders.
Senate Bill 1 would use money from the state’s basic education subsidy to fund vouchers for low-income students, and in his inaugural address, Corbett voiced support for the idea.
But Timothy Allwein of the Pennsylvania School Boards Association and other vouchers opponents say the plan cedes control to private schools.

"As far as we know, neither Senate Bill 1 nor any other voucher proposal that we heard about would require a school to take a student who has a student voucher. So really what it boils down to is the school making the choice, not necessarily the parents of the student making the choice, which is what supporters of the legislation are always touting."

Allwein says the legislation will hurt public schools’ bottom line.

"Just because you take maybe 25 or 30 kids out of a district, or even out of a specific school, doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve reduced the cost in that district or school. You still have to pay the teachers, you still have to pay the utility bills, etc, etc, etc."

The bill’s co-sponsor, Democratic Senator Anthony Williams, argues public schools are saving money when students go to private institutions instead.
Allwein counters districts and schools would still have the same overhead costs and bills to pay, and the decrease in funding would hurt education efforts.

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