SB2 – Voucher Vote Delayed, Senate Ed Committee Changed

An October Morning Call article had this to say: According to calculations by the PSEA, Allentown, Bethlehem Area and Easton Area school districts would stand to lose nearly $50 million annually.
Allentown would have seen almost $27 million go into the education savings account if the bill had been law in 2015-16 and a third of eligible students applied for ESAs, the state’s largest teachers union said.
Bethlehem Area and Easton Area would have seen $14.6 and $5.3 million, respectively, diverted into accounts in 2015-16, according to PSEA.

You can read that article here: http://www.mcall.com/news/nationworld/pennsylvania/capitol-ideas/mc-nws-pennsylvania-schools-education-savings-account-20171024-story.html

The good news is that Senate Bill 2, the education savings account/DeVos voucher bill, was delayed from coming up for a vote! The bad news is that before leaving for their holiday break, Republican leaders rearranged the Senate Education Committee in the hopes that it will have enough votes to pass SB 2 out of committee when lawmakers return in this month. It is highly unusual for senators to switch committees in the middle of a four-year legislative cycle.  Many people might wonder why Republican leaders would take these extraordinary measures to try to pass a bill that their own committee members do not support.

The answer to this question is as simple as it is troubling. The school privatization lobby wants this bill to pass. Education Committee Chair John Eichelberger and other Republican leaders in the Senate are willing to do what it takes to appease their deep-pocketed, anti-public education donors.

Erie County Republican Senator Dan Laughlin is officially moving from the Education Committee to the Community, Economic, and Recreational Development Committee.
His replacement has been announced as Rich Alloway, a fellow Republican from Franklin County.
The move is significant because of Senate Bill 2–a measure would let students in the lowest-performing public schools use the money the state would have spent on their education for alternative school options.
Laughlin is a key opponent, and a big reason the bill failed to get to the Senate floor in October by one vote.
Meanwhile, Alloway is one of the bill’s co-sponsors.

Some pro-public school organizations have called foul. The group Education Voters of PA, which often lobbies against charter schools and other school choice efforts, said the committee change is “deeply troubling.”In a statement, Executive Director Susan Spicka said, “for the vote on [Senate Bill 2] and moving forward, the inclusion of Alloway will ensure that the structure of the committee will be generally more in favor of anti-public education, pro-school privatization legislation.”Laughlin maintains his request to switch committees was totally unrelated to Senate Bill 2–a defense GOP Education Committee Chair John Eichelberger backs up.”[Laughlin] said that he had worked on the committee to try to look out for the Erie School District’s problems. Those were addressed, so he’d like to move on and do some other work on another committee,” he said.But Eichelberger confirms Laughlin’s move delayed a planned reconsideration of Senate Bill 2 this week.”We’re still looking at the bill, and we’re waiting for personnel changes to the committee that have been discussed,” he said Tuesday, before Laughlin’s move was finalized. Alloway didn’t respond to a request for comment, nor did staff for Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, who has final say on committee assignments and confirmed the switch.

We need to tell our state lawmakers to OPPOSE SB 2, legislation that would bring a new generation of Betsy DeVos’s school vouchers called education savings accounts (ESAs) to PA.

You can go right now to The Action Network and help sign a petition created by Education Voters of PA ( http://educationvoterspa.org/) and let our lawmakers know how we feel.

Sign the petition here: https://actionnetwork.org/letters/tell-your-state-lawmakers-to-oppose-sb-2-legislation-that-would-bring-a-new-generation-of-betsy-devoss-school-vouchers-called-education-savings-accounts-esas-to-pa

#stayinformed #bethechange #sb2 #esa

*special thanks to Education Voters of PA

BASD Proud Parents is strictly pro-public education. We are an independent group with no affiliations to the BASD school board or any political parties. Our goals are to help parents stay informed about educational policy discussions and to facilitate ways for any of us who would like the chance to have our voices heard, to get more involved in those policy conversations.