Today, Senate Bill 1—legislation to expand school choice for Pennsylvania families—was amended and passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee.
The amendment increase voucher eligibility in the fourth year of the program to middle-income families. The amendment will create vouchers for students with family income up to 300 percent of the poverty level. This means a family of four would qualify at $67,050.
With the amendment, the bill will be phased in over four years as follows:
- Year One. Only low-income students currently enrolled in "persistently lowest achieving" schools will be eligible for a voucher.
- Year Two. Low-income students residing with the boundaries of failing schools, but currently attending private schools, would be eligible.
- Year Three. All low-income students in Pennsylvania would be eligible.
- Year Four. Middle-income students in Pennsylvania would be eligible for the separate "middle-income scholarship program".
The amendment also puts a cap of $250 million available for scholarships for those not eligible in years one or two.
The amendment would further require schools to administer a "nationally normed standardized achievement test" in math and reading to voucher students, and post aggregate results online.
Learn more about SB1—prior to the amendment—here.