Schlossberg calls for transparency, truth in advertising for all public school advertisements

HARRISBURG, May 2 – State Rep. Mike Schlossberg has reintroduced legislation that would require all public school advertising to disclose that the ads are funded with taxpayer money and prohibit the ads from stating that schools, programs, services or transportation are free.

“Schools across the state and nation are using various forms of advertising to attract students to increase enrollment,” said Schlossberg, D-Lehigh, “However, some schools -- particularly cyber charter schools -- are referring to services and programs in their advertising as ‘free’.”

Schlossberg said his bill (H.B. 894) also would prohibit public schools from falsely advertising tuition or transportation as free and would have to disclose that instructional and transportation costs are paid for by tax dollars.

“These public charter schools that use millions of dollars to advertise tuition, transportation, or other programs as free are deceiving taxpayers. Someone fronts the bill for these things and my bill would inform taxpayers that it’s always been them,” Schlossberg said. “This deception to attract students reveals that it’s less about educating our children and more about attracting the most pupils to attend because each student comes with a high payout that ultimately falls on the shoulders of taxpayers.”

Schlossberg said his bill aims to level the playing field for all public schools competing for student enrollment in Pennsylvania. The bill would be consistent with the requirement that paid advertising by state agencies include the phrase “Paid for with Pennsylvania taxpayer dollars,” as per the Funded Advertising Transparency Act of 2015.

Schlossberg’s bill is part of an eight-bill package proposed by House Democrats that is focused on public charter school reform and demanding fiscal and academic accountability from all public schools.