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Pennsylvania is Top State for School-Choice!

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Via(Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

State tops nation in school-choice enrollment: study

By Bill Zlatos
TRIBUNE-REVIEW

Pennsylvania leads the nation in the number of students in school-choice programs, according to a study released today.

“Pennsylvania has what some people consider to be a corporate voucher program, and that program is allowing more than 43,000 children to receive grants to go to school,” said Andrew Campanella, a spokesman for the Alliance for School Choice.

The alliance, a Washington-based advocacy group, looked at school voucher and scholarship tax credit programs across the country. Its “School Choice Yearbook 2008-09” found an estimated 171,332 students in 10 states and the District of Columbia use such programs this school year, an increase of 8 percent over last year.

Pennsylvania launched its Educational Improvement Tax Credit in 2001. The credit provides grants so that parents can send their children to preschools and private schools, and support groups that provide innovative programs in public schools.

The 43,764 Pennsylvania students in the tax credit program surpasses the total of students in similar programs and those getting vouchers in other states, according to the report.

Campanella said the tax credit program grew 69 percent over five years in Pennsylvania; school choice programs soared 89 percent nationally.

“The reason we see the national growth higher is because of the new programs that have come into play in five years,” Campanella said. “It’s not that Pennsylvania is underperforming. In fact, Pennsylvania has done one of the best jobs recruiting students into the program.”

The state program is worth $75 million, said Andrew LeFevre, executive director of the Road to Educational Achievement through Choice Alliance, a Harrisburg group that advocates for school choice.

Of that, he said, $43.7 million is for scholarships, $23.3 million for innovative programs in public schools and $8 million for preschool.

The Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh gets about 7,000 grants a year from the tax credits, said Ron Bowes, assistant superintendent for public policy and development in the diocese.

“We’re very fortunate,” he said. “There are about 200 scholarship organizations in the state of Pennsylvania, and we’re number one.”

Bowes said the law helped stabilize Catholic education. “This is something that has preserved a lot of our Catholic schools,” he said, estimating that each Catholic elementary school saves taxpayers $1.5 million to $2 million a year, in terms of the lower cost of education.

Last year, the Legislature amended the law by raising the cap on the tax credit from $200,000 to $300,000 and allowing partnerships such as law, architectural and accounting firms to take part.

“There’s still a lot of untapped potential out there in the business community that we need to get the word to,” LeFevre said.

God Bless,
The Truth Tracker
Jason R. Bootie
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  1. […] http://www.vutino.com wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptVia(Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)State tops nation in school-choice enrollment: studyBy Bill Zlatos TRIBUNE-REVIEWPennsylvania leads the nation in the number of students in school-choice programs, according to a study released today.“Pennsylvania has what some people consider to be a corporate voucher program, and that program is allowing more than 43,000 children to receive grants to go to school,” said Andrew Campanella, a spokesman for the Alliance for School Choice.The alliance, a Washington-ba […]


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