YORK, Pa. — Pennsylvania has become the latest state to consider a school voucher program to serve low-income children who now attend failing public schools, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Gov. Tom Corbett announced a plan to extend taxpayer-funded vouchers to students in the bottom 5 percent of poor-performing schools and whose families earn 130 percent or less of the federal poverty rate, according to The Inquirer.

The vouchers could be used to attend other public schools, private schools or public charter schools, The Inquirer reported. Any school that accepts a voucher student would get 75 percent of the state funding for that child, while the student’s school district would receive the remainder, according to the report.

A state education department official said that about 140 Pennsylvania schools are in the bottom 5 percent academically and that the program would cost about $21 million in the first year based on an estimated 4,100 students participating, according to The Inquirer.

In related news, the governor’s proposal would lift the $75 million cap on the Educational Improvement Tax Credit, which gives tax credits to businesses that provide tuition funding for low-income students, The Inquirer reported.

Teachers union representatives and the state school board association said that the proposals would harm conventional public schools in Pennsylvania, according to The Inquirer.

SOURCE:

The Philadelphia Inquirer, “Corbett rolls out his school-voucher plan,” Oct. 12, 2011

FURTHER READING:

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Time to Take School Choice in Michigan to the Next Level,” Aug. 8, 2011

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