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Update: PFT on SB1

June 17, 2021

To: Members of the PA State Senate

From: Jerry Jordan 

Re: OPPOSITION TO SB1; Position on Amendments 


The PFT remains in opposition to SB1. 

No introduced amendment changes our position. However, there are many amendments that are worthy of consideration as standalone bills, and we have provided an overview of our positions below.

This bill does the following: 

  • Massively expands vouchers via EITC funding to the tune of $3Billion in the first year and then a massive 25% annual escalator after that. 
  • This legislation increases “opportunity scholarship tax credits” to the tune of $300,000,000 (from $155 Million). Additionally, this legislation increases this allowance by an astonishing 25% annually beginning in 2022-23. This would be catastrophic for public education and the students we serve, and a boon for corporations looking to profit in the name of faux charity.


This bill flies in the face of the constitutional and moral obligation to provide a thorough and efficient system of public education to all of our children. We reiterate our opposition to the unfettered expansion of charter schools and the privatization of public schools. Instead of looking for ways to truly fund public education so that our students can receive the resources they so richly deserve (and to which they are constitutionally entitled), the legislature is once again considering legislation aimed at privatizing and profiting from public education.

Our positions on the recently introduced amendments follow. Please note that not one of these amendments moves us to support SB1, because the heart of this bill is a blatant attack on public education in the name of faux charity. 

A01504 and A01552: L.Williams and Kane

Position: Support as part of broad based charter overhaul. 

Comment: These amendments, both aimed at increased transparency and oversight, would be welcome components of an overall charter overhaul bill.

A01505: Brewster

Position: Neutral

Comment: This amendment implements a more fair calculation of cyber charter tuition rates, but we do not believe that cyber charter rates should increase at all. As such, we remain neutral and advocate for a cyber charter and charter overhaul legislative package.

A01506: Collett

Position: Support as standalone legislation and/or as part of broad charter overhaul bill. 

Comment: We support the prohibition of excessive fund balances for charter schools. Education should not be seen as a for profit endeavor. This amendment seeks to address just that. As such, we support this language as part of a broad charter overhaul package.

A01549: L.Williams

Position: Support as standalone legislation and/or as part of broad charter overhaul bill. 

Comment: One of the most flawed components of charter funding is the calculation of funding for students with special needs. Regardless of a student's exceptionality, a charter receives the same funding. In a public school, the funding allocation is based on the student’s exceptionality. It is a significant barrier to ensuring that we can provide all of our public school students with a thorough and efficient public education. This legislation, as an independent bill, will go a long way in leveling the playing field and moving us towards a more fair system of funding.

A01552: Kane

Position: Support as independent legislation.

Comment: A school ‘takeover’ is a deeply flawed method of ‘fixing’ a public school that has been deemed struggling. The characterization of public schools is a failed experiment that for too long has short changed our young people. This amendment will be one step in the right direction in ensuring that instead of unproven takeovers, schools that are deemed ‘struggling’ are provided the resources they need to thrive.

A01715: Boscola

Position: Oppose

Comment: We fully and wholeheartedly support the swift implementation of all education funding being driven by the fair funding formula. As such, we are supportive of legislation that moves us quickly in that direction. We believe that full implementation can and should take place before the timeline outlined in this amendment. We also recognize that hold harmless provisions will be important for districts like Pittsburgh. Further, we believe that legislation of this magnitude must exist as standalone legislation. 

A01698: Muth

Position: Oppose

Comment: While we appreciate the intent of this amendment, and fully support Senator Muth’s effort to ensure that educators’ hard earned pensions are protected, we cannot support the expansion of EITC, even in hypothetical form. We would support legislation aimed at fully funding PSERS as standalone legislation.

A01708: Kearney

Position: Oppose

Comment: While we appreciate Senator Kearney’s intent to increase the eligibility thresholds for EITC, we cannot support the expansion of EITC in any form.

A01671: Boscola

Position: Support--if amended-- as part of charter overhaul legislation.

Comment: We believe the rate used for calculation should be the lowest rate within any municipality, not the highest. Further, this should be incorporated into broad charter overhaul. Limiting cyber charter funding makes sense, and it should exist within a larger charter overhaul bill, or at the very least, within a cyber charter overhaul bill.

A01731: Haywood

Position: Support as independent legislation that encompasses all students across the Commonwealth.

Comment: As part of our ongoing efforts to ensure safe and healthy school environments for all children and staff, we certainly support efforts to expand lead testing to charter schools.

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