Could the Lifeline Scholarship Program be the first start in having the money follow the student in PA?

June 29 – One of the items up for discussion in the Pennsylvania state budget – that has become a pretty big sticking point – is the concept of Lifeline Scholarships for students in low-achieving school districts. 

A Senate bill creating a scholarship program would actually set up spending accounts for parents with children in the lowest achieving 15 percent of PA public schools to provide other options for students. The scholarship money could be used to send the students to private schools. 

Interestingly, Governor Josh Shapiro has sided with Senate Republicans in trying to get this bill through. 

School officials – particularly those in the low-performing schools – are saying this is going to capsize some school districts. 

Pat Ryan of NewsTalk 103.7FM asked, “Who wouldn’t want to have the money follow the child?”

PA Representative Rob Kauffman said, “It’s part of the public education cabal. They will do anything to save their territory, to mark their territory and make sure nothing involved in any kind of competition comes against them. Because they can’t deal with that.”

Michele Jansen of NewsTalk 103.7FM noted, “I’m afraid the Senate will cave on all kinds of other stuff to get this, which is a good thing to get. Why isn’t the Senate doing their job? They were supposed to vote on these nominees for cabinet positions.”

One of them is Val Arkoosh for the Human Services Secretary. She was the chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners. 

Jansen said, “She’s a nightmare. She ruined Montgomery County with her commissionership there. She spent the last 10 years trying to get into higher positions of power. Well, she’s finally done it. She has failed upward along with a lot of other Democrats. But is our Senate going to take the time to actually vote on her nomination? Nope. Why do we have a full time legislature if they won’t do things like this?” 

Kauffman pointed out, “It’s fascinating to watch because the governor’s office has sent out press releases (about people who have) gotten approved through the nomination process. I saw just this morning they sent out a press release saying that three members of his cabinet are taking their office according to the constitution. So I believe it’s a recess appointment. I believe that’s what they call it. So the Senate is not taking action and they are going to assume the position without the Senate acting. They also did not send out a press release saying they were withdrawing one of the nominees as well because they were essentially told, I believe this is how it works, they were told, you don’t have the votes for it so we can either defeat it or you can withdraw it. So they quietly withdrew a nomination as well.”