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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: April 21, 2021 01:15 PM
From: Representative Martina A. White
To: All House members
Subject: Assisting Students In Economically Disadvantaged Schools
In the near future I intend to introduce legislation to make improvements to Pennsylvania’s Economically Disadvantaged Schools program, which is part of Pennsylvania’s Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) and Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit (OSTC) program.
The Economically Disadvantaged Schools program provides supplemental tax credit scholarships to students enrolled in schools that have been deemed economically disadvantaged under the EITC law. Economically Disadvantaged Schools traditionally have had trouble attracting enough designated tax credit dollars for their students. This program has been very helpful to struggling families whose child attends one of these schools but needs additional tax credit scholarship support.
While the Economically Disadvantaged Schools program has had a positive impact for some families in Pennsylvania, changes are needed to fine tune the program and to meet increased demand.  Below is a summary of the significant changes my bill will make to this program.
● Allow both EITC and OSTC recipients who are enrolled in an Economically Disadvantaged School, to be eligible for the supplementary scholarship. Currently, the test for determining if a school is considered economically disadvantaged is based on the percentage of EITC and OSTC recipients in the school. But, only OSTC students at the school can receive the supplemental tax credit scholarship.  This change will cure this disconnect by allowing both EITC and OSTC recipients who are attending an Economically Disadvantaged School to be eligible for the program.
● Currently, in order for a school to be considered an Economically Disadvantaged School, 75% or more of its students must be EITC or OSTC recipients.  My bill will lower this threshold to 51%.  This change will expand eligible recipients, while continuing to drive scholarships to the students who need them the most.
● Allow eligible elementary and middle school students to receive up to $2,000, and eligible high school students to receive up to $4,000.  Currently, all eligible students can receive up to $1,000.  This change recognizes the large gap between family capacity to pay and the operating cost at Economically Disadvantaged Schools. It also recognizes the reality that high schools are more costly to operate.
● Create a funding formula to ensure that all students eligible to receive funding in the Economically Disadvantaged Schools program will be able to receive the full scholarship amount that they are eligible for.  Currently, there is $5 million in tax credits available in this program, but this is not nearly enough to meet the demand that exists.
My legislation will make important changes to the Economically Disadvantaged Schools program that benefit tax credit students attending these schools.  It will also help Pennsylvania continue to provide quality educational options to families across the Commonwealth. 

I hope that you will consider co-sponsoring this legislation.

Introduced as HB1642