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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: January 7, 2019 03:42 PM
From: Representative Michael H. Schlossberg
To: All House members
Subject: Truth in Advertising: Charter School Advertising
Ever wonder what pays for those large billboards and slick promotional materials for public schools? It’s taxpayer dollars! Schools across the state and nationwide are using various forms of advertising to attract students to increase enrollment. Some schools -- particularly cyber charter schools -- are referring those services and programs in their advertising as “free." It’s not free: Pennsylvania taxpayers are paying for it.

In the near future I plan on introducing legislation that would prohibit public school entities from advertising “free” tuition or transportation, stipulating they must disclose that instructional and transportation costs are paid for by tax dollars.

Instruction and other programs and services at all public schools in Pennsylvania, including brick-and-mortar charter and cyber-charter schools, are taxpayer funded, just like at traditional public schools. To ensure a level playing field for ALL public schools competing for student enrollment in Pennsylvania, we should make sure all public schools tell the truth in their advertising about who is paying the bills.

This would be consistent with the requirement that paid advertising by state agencies include the phrase "Paid for with Pennsylvania taxpayer dollars" (Taxpayer-Funded Advertising Transparency Act, aka Act 90 of 2015).

This proposal was introduced as HB1203 in the 2017-2018 session. The following members were co-sponsors of the bill: ROEBUCK, DeLUCA, DONATUCCI, FREEMAN, LONGIETTI, McCARTER, MILLARD, NEILSON, B. O'NEILL, READSHAW, SAMUELSON, SCHWEYER, SNYDER, SOLOMON, STAATS, PASHINSKI, BARBIN and SIMS

The language was also adopted (186-1) as Amendment 00791 and included in final language to HB 97 (Charter School Reform), which ultimately did not receive final passage.

Please join me in brining much needed transparency to how Pennsylvania taxpayer dollars are being spent on education.

Introduced as HB894