|Posted:||June 16, 2020 04:11 PM|
|From:||Senator Judy Ward|
|To:||All Senate members|
|Subject:||Helping Pa. Students Get “Back on Track”|
|As we head into summer and the unknowns of this fall, Pennsylvania students have missed out on nearly 3 months of classroom instruction. While some schools were able to adapt instruction during the Coronavirus pandemic, the sad reality is that many students have fallen behind.
A recent USA Today article noted that nearly one-in-five teachers may not return to schools, and an incredible 60 percent of parents are considering at-home learning options.
With the new school year quickly approaching, we must embrace new solutions to get Pennsylvania students back on track academically.
Shortly, I will be introducing legislation to create Back on Track Education Scholarship Accounts for students whose education was disrupted by the Coronavirus pandemic. Back on Track Education Scholarship Accounts will empower parents to get their children the specific help they need.
Under my bill, parents with school age children (K to 12) will receive funding in an account to offset educational costs. These accounts will help students get back on track after the Coronavirus pandemic. The accounts would be administered by the state Treasurer, much like the existing 529 program, with all funding coming from the reserved discretionary component of federal CARES Act funds.
Back on Track ESAs could only be used by families for students’ education-related needs like tutoring, online classes, curriculum, tuition, counseling, and services for students with special needs.
I appreciate your consideration of this bill and hope to work with many of you to provide much-needed relief to Pennsylvania families and students. Together, we can ensure our students get back on track.
Should the federal government release additional funding, it would potentially increase the number of students who could be reached and served.
Introduced as SB1230