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School voucher legislation sponsor in Pa. Senate blames House for failed push on bill

The school voucher bill in Pennsylvania will likely have to wait until after lawmakers return from their two-month summer recess following an 11th-hour push to cobble together legislation both chambers could agree on failed to materialize. Sen. Jeffrey E. Piccola (R), chairman of the Senate Education Committee and co-sponsor of the controversial SB1, issued the following statement today regarding school choice legislation:

I am extremely disappointed that a comprehensive compromise proposal including school vouchers, the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program, and charter schools did not cross the finish line this month. The school children of Pennsylvania and their parents have lost out, not to mention the taxpayers. Kids trapped in failing schools remain trapped; parents who wish to make educational choices for their children largely remain without assistance. The monopoly system of public education – good, bad, or indifferent and expensive remains in place.

As we approach these last days in June, the Senate at the request of the Governor made a comprehensive, balanced and fair proposal to the House including many components of which we thought they had an interest. Unfortunately, the House was unable or unwilling to engage in any meaningful discussions to finalize this proposal.

This is a lost opportunity to fundamentally change the Commonwealth’s approach to education. We are aiming to implement proven methods to enhance academic achievement for all students. While it will be more difficult, I stand ready to work on this issue in the future. Over the last several months, House leaders and some in the Governor’s administration have said this is an issue to address in the Fall 2011. I am ready but it is clearly the responsibility of the Governor if this remains on his agenda to define the parameters, initiate the process and drive that process to a successful conclusion.

The House, Senate and governor’s office are all controlled by Republicans.

TAI’s coverage of school voucher legislation in Pennsylvania can be read here.

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