School choice a hot topic in Pennsylvania

DuBOIS – School choice is currently a hot topic in the Pennsylvania State Legislature, according to Amy Hill, communications director for the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference. Hill was the main speaker at a news conference held Friday afternoon at DuBois Area Catholic School regarding Senate Bill 1. "Senate Bill 1 is a good sort of stepping-off place when we're talking about school choice in Pennsylvania right now," Hill said. "The bill aims to increase the very successful Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program, which has been in existence for about 10 years now."Under the current proposal, funding for the EITC program would be increased to $100 million, Hill explained. "[This increase] would make scholarships available to many, many more students," Hill said. S.B. 1 also proposes the creation of vouchers, referred to as Opportunity Scholarship Grants. "[These vouchers] would first go to the poorest students in areas with chronically failing schools. These are schools where students have had difficulty achieving in reading, writing, math, those kinds of things," Hill said. "There is a very specific definition in state law that determines a failing school or where the schools lie on the achievement scale. But eventually, low-income families, no matter where they go to school, all over the state, will qualify for those vouchers. Parents can use this voucher to pay tuition at any school they choose, public or private."Pick up a copy of the Saturday, June 18, 2011 edition of The Ridgway Record for more.