Local schools stand against new education bill

WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) - Not satisfied with the public education her son was getting, this mom added a new responsibility to her list of duties. She now teaches her son at home.

"when you're zoned to a certain school and that's the school that your child has to go to, you don't have than many options when you are a low income family," SAID Julia Pantallion. Homeschooling is still an investment, but more affordable than private school for Pantallion. According to Senator John DiSanto of Dauphin County, too many Pennsylvania families face similar limitations. His bill - Senate Bill 2 - would establish an education savings account that parents can use to pay for tuition at a participating private or charter school, books and more.
Eligible parents who's child attends school in a low-performing district could be granted the state average funding for one child, which is about 5 thousand dollars.
"It would put families in the drivers seat of their kids educational outcomes," said Micah Lovell, the vice principal at Abington Christian Academy.

Educators the private academy  say school choice can make a positive academic difference in a student's life. But not everyone is on board with this particular idea. In our area, adminsitrators from Weatherly area school district, Northwest area school district and Carbondale area school district to name a few, passed a resolution opposing the plan.
"Private schools don't have to report the same academic scores or financial information as public schools," said Steve Robinson with the Pennsylvania School Boards Association. He worries about the funds that would be taken away from the public schools who need it most.

"There is no accountablity to see once a family gets the money, how you check back to see how they are spending that money," said Robinson.

The association says as much as $500 million could be syphoned off from public schools.
    Someone from Senator DiSanto's office says that there would be accountability because the money would go into a state supervised account. The Department of Education must approve any educational assistance the parent is looking to get. Senate Bill 2 is still in the education committee.

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