State-run Harrisburg School District faces vouchers bill


HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Though it has only been two months since the state has taken over responsibilities for the Harrisburg School District, there may be changes coming already.

Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives Mike Turzai is proposing a bill that would provide scholarship grants to other private or public schools as an alternative.

However, it could be perceived that Turzai is attempting to providing school vouchers.

School vouchers are a government funding certificate that goes towards the school of a student or their parents’ choosing.

When asked how he believed that the takeover hasn’t worked given that it has been two months, Turzai responded, “Are you against choice in education? Do you not want families to have the opportunity to find the best fit for their child? I think you need to rethink how you’re phrasing your question.”

“In addition, on top of that, the state of Pennsylvania would provide an additional $3,000 for each student who decided to go for the scholarship grant,” Turzai said.

State Rep. Patty Kim (D-Dauphin) believes that Turzai is politicking the new school administration, not giving them a fair chance.

“Leave our students alone, OK?. We’re not Guinea pigs. This is not a good time to see if this would work. We’re trying to get on solid ground,” Kim said.

A spokesperson for Gov. Tom Wolf said: “The solution is not to drain resources from Harrisburg public schools but rather putting leadership and changes in place to begin turning the district around to benefit all students. This voucher program would not help all students, especially those that could not make up the difference between the voucher and private school tuition.

The speaker has offered additional thoughts on the bill.

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