FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Rep. Mike Sturla
Chairman, Democratic Policy Committee
State Rep. James Roebuck
Democratic Chairman, Education
Democratic Policy Committee examines the potential impact
of school vouchers on education in Pennsylvania
HARRISBURG, April 7 – The House Democratic Policy Committee today held a public hearing at the state Capitol to look at how the implementation of school vouchers would affect education in the Commonwealth, said committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster.
State Rep. James Roebuck, D-Phila., Democratic chairman of the House Education Committee, served as the hearing's co-chairman.
"Education funding is already under assault in this year's budget proposal," Sturla said. "There is simply no way our public schools and their students can sustain critical education programs with the deeper cuts that would be necessary as a result of implementing vouchers in Pennsylvania. It would undermine our responsibility, as well as our constitutional obligation to adequately fund a quality public education for our children's future."
Roebuck added: "Chairman Sturla and the Policy Committee have performed a valuable public service by holding five hearings around the state. The massive tax-funded voucher plan currently in the Senate deserves a great deal of scrutiny about its cost, its lack of accountability and its questionable constitutional status, among other concerns. At a time when the state already faces a $4 billion deficit and the governor wants to cut K-12 education funding by more than $1 billion, voucher supporters have so far failed to justify creating a new program that would cost tens or hundreds of millions of dollars by its third year."
Testifiers at the hearing included Darlene Callands, president/CEO, Philadelphia Black Alliance for Educational Options; Lorenzo White Sr., parent; Michell Williams, parent; Jim Testerman, president, PSEA; Dr. Robert Frick, superintendent, Lampeter-Strasburg School District; Dr. Edward Albert, superintendent, Tulpehocken Area School District; Ron Cowell, president, The Education Policy and Leadership Center; Andy Hoover, legislative director, ACLU of Pennsylvania; Blanding Watson, president, Lancaster NAACP; Kathy Keafer, administrator, Johnstown Christian School; John Storey, regional director, Association of Christian School International; Dawn Chavous, executive director, Students First; Joy Herbert, co-chairman, West Philadelphia High School Advisory Council; Otto Banks, executive director, REACH Alliance and Foundation; Livia Riley, superintendent of schools, Diocese of Harrisburg; Matthew Brouillette, president, Commonwealth Foundation; and Dick Komer, senior attorney, Institute of Justice.