State lawmakers embraced a trio of significant reforms with the passage of HB 178—an act amending Pennsylvania’s Public School Code. The legislation would expand a popular scholarship program, protect successful teachers, and facilitate the development of charter schools.
Here’s a look at the reforms:
Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) Expansion – HB 178 increases the amount of tax credits available under the EITC by $10 million—from $125 million to $135 million. The EITC program allows businesses to divert a portion of their tax bill to scholarship organizations. These organizations can then offer scholarships to Pennsylvania’s families and students looking to escape poorly-performing schools.
More choice benefits students. In fact, 14 out of 18 studies found choice programs improve student outcomes. Additionally, school choice has saved at least $1.3 billion for taxpayers as the programs available spend much less than traditional public schools spend on a per student basis.
This expansion will help thousands of students find the school that best meets their needs.
Protecting Successful Teachers – Pennsylvania is one of just a handful of states that furloughs teachers based on seniority rather than their performance in the classroom. The Public School Code would end this outdated system by requiring school districts to consider teachers’ success when making personnel decisions.
Every child deserves to learn from an excellent teacher. And no excellent teacher deserves to lose his or her job because they were hired at a later date.
Charter School Consolidation – HB 178 also includes a provision facilitating the development of Pennsylvania’s charter schools. The bill describes the conditions that need to be met for two or more high-performing charter schools to organize under a single board of trustees or a single administrator.
The change would reduce the administrative burden current law places on good charter schools.
Gov. Wolf has a rare opportunity to enact life-changing educational reforms that help students succeed, teachers excel and good schools flourish. It's time for the governor to stand with students and put families before union interests.