The Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit program announced its second year of eligible schools, allowing students in bottom-performing schools a chance to attend elsewhere.
The Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit program targets students at the state's weakest schools. Here's how it works, according to the Department of Education: Businesses donate money to scholarship programs, which then supply up to $8,500 for a regular education student or $15,000 for a special-education student to attend a better-performing school.
The business gets a tax credit equal to 75 percent to 90 percent of its donation, and the student gets to attend a top school without having to pay out of pocket.
The Department of Education announced Friday that Ferguson, Jackson, McKinley K-8 schools and William Penn Senior High School in York City School District were all on the low-achieving list. The state had 406 schools in 71 districts on the low-achieving list, meaning a potential of more than 240,000 eligible students.
Low-achieving schools performed in the bottom 15 percent on state tests last school year. York City had seven schools on the list last year, the program's first as an initiative from Gov. Tom Corbett to give families another option beside charter schools.
To be eligible, a Jackson, McKinley, Ferguson or William Penn student's household income can be no greater than $75,000, plus $12,000 for each dependent member of the home.
The money made available does not guarantee the student will be accepted at a participating school, and the new school has to be willing to accept the tuition students. Several private and public schools participated last year, but they have to re-submit their intentions by Feb. 15.
For more information, visit www.education.state.pa.us and click on the "Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit" icon.
- Reach Andrew Shaw at firstname.lastname@example.org