This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
Legislation is on the move in Harrisburg that could give parents more school choices and siphon millions from traditional public schools.
Imagine if your child lived in a neighborhood with a poorly ranked school, so Pennsylvania gave you money to pay for private school or other educational expenses.
That’s what Senate Bill 2 does. Proponents, most of them Republicans, say the measure gives needy kids in struggling schools a way out.
“It clearly empowers parents in the most at-risk school districts to take control of their child’s education,” said State Sen. John Disanto (R-Dauphin), the bill’s sponsor.
Unlike a traditional voucher system, the state would put money in an education savings account (ESA) that parents could spend on private schools, tutors, or other items related to education. Students now attending private schools would not be eligible. Only children who are entering the K-12 system or who attended public school in the preceding year could receive the money.