Legislation would give Harrisburg School District students school choice, $8,000 voucher

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Students in the Harrisburg School District could soon receive taxpayer money to attend school elsewhere. A bill moving through the State House would create a school voucher pilot program for students in the district, giving eligible students taxpayer money to attend other public, charter or private schools.

The Harrisburg School District is now under state receivership, and is facing a more than $2 million budget deficit. Some state lawmakers say they are working to pass legislation to ensure the students of the district are not left behind.

"It’s going to rescue kids from what we’ve seen is now a generational failure in the city’s school district," said State Rep. Greg Rothman, (R) Cumberland County.

Rothman is a prime co-sponsor of HB1800.

“It will actually save the school district money," said Rothman.

Rothman says, right now, the district receives about $22,000 for every child in the district. This bill would create a voucher program requiring the district pay $4,000 to attend another public, private or charter school. This would allow the District to keep $18,000.

“I’ve always felt the city of Harrisburg is the heart of the region," said Rothman. “We can not have a strong region, if we don’t have a strong city.”

While the District would only pay $4,000, the state would also chip in another $4,000 allowing a student to receive a total of about $8,000 to attend a school of their choice.

“It’s another opportunity for children whose parents, grandparents or guardians think they’re being failed by the Harrisburg school district," said Rothman.

 

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