– When it comes to the debate over school choice, state Rep. Mike Jones (R-York Township) says supporters need only look to the state Capitol area for evidence.
“With money that cannot be accounted for, terminated employees receiving health care benefits and other questionable spending practices, the Harrisburg School District is a multi-million dollar mess,” said Jones, a former Dallastown School Board member. “The district thankfully is in receivership and hopefully on its way to recovery, but parents and their children need options in education and deserve to have the tools necessary to take advantage of them.”
On Monday, Jones and his colleagues on the House Education Committee will consider House Bill 1800
, legislation that would create a program of tuition grants specifically for the Harrisburg School District. Jones is listed as a co-sponsor on the bill.
“For the sake of the future of these impacted students, I hope and pray Dr. Janet Samuels, the Harrisburg School District’s receiver, can turn things around,” Jones added. “For those taxpaying parents and caregivers who have their doubts, as well as those who simply want an alternative for their loved ones, House Bill 1800 provides that choice.”
House Bill 1800 would establish a pilot tuition program with grants, at most, equal to the per-student basic education subsidy received by the district from the state in the prior year. Half of each grant would be provided by the district and half would be provided by the state.
“More than half of Harrisburg’s funding ($84.5 million) came from state funding, which makes this more than simply a local issue,” Jones said. “I will be voting for this bill because it’s in the best interest of both students and taxpayers.”
To that end, Jones will also be supporting Senate Bill 751
, which will also come before the committee Monday. The legislation would make changes to the teacher evaluation system that was put into place as part of Act 82 of 2012
“Senate Bill 751 would place more weight on classroom observation and less on student test scores,” added Jones. “It also attempts to account for the way student academic outcomes are impacted by poverty, an element of society that undoubtedly plays a role in our public school systems.
“We invest a lot of money in education. Taxpayers deserve a good return on their investment.”
This Monday’s House Education Committee meeting will be streamed live through Jones’ website, RepMikeJones.com
, beginning at 11:30 a.m.
Representative Mike Jones
93rd Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Scott Little