Education Improvement Tax Credit (EITC)
Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit (OSTC)
The spending plan increases by $10 million our successful Educational Improvement Tax Credit and Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit initiatives offering our business community the ability to become more involved in education opportunities for students through scholarships and donations.
The EITC program opens access to good nonpublic schools by allowing businesses to claim a tax credit for donations to scholarship funds for pre-kindergarten through grade 12 children, and has the potential to offer even freer educational choice than a voucher program.
More than 40,000 students benefit from the EITC program each year through business contributions to scholarship organizations. Additionally, the program assists countless Pennsylvania students in traditional public schools through the innovative educational programs that are funded through business contributions to Education Improvement Organizations under the program.
The OSTC is targeted only at students in “low-achieving schools” (those in the lowest 15 percent of their designation as elementary or secondary), but provides scholarships in a similar manner to the EITC program.
“Families who want educational opportunities – to attend nonpublic schools or to participate in afterschool educational enhancement activities – but cannot afford them have found the educational improvement and opportunity scholarships to be positively life-changing.” - Speaker of the House, Rep. Mike Turzai
Keystone Exam Delay
The School Code will extend the moratorium of using the Keystone Exam as a graduation requirement by an additional year – through the 2020 school year.
Knowing What They’re Doing - School Director Training
The state Department of Education (PDE) will (at no cost to school districts) provide mandatory training for newly elected or appointed school directors, charter school trustees or school reform commission members. The four hours of training will cover instruction and academic programs, personnel, fiscal management, operations, ethics and open meetings.
PDE will further provide training for those re-elected or reappointed within a year of the new term. The training will cover changes in state and federal law and other necessary information.
Future Farmers and the Ag Industry
Creates a Commission of Agricultural Excellence to develop and oversee a statewide plan for agricultural education. This will help students interested in moving into the agricultural field, whether farming or the industrial side with a uniform curriculum based on high priority occupations, and provide support with state and local FFA programs.
Drug / Alcohol Recovery and Opioid Abuse Prevention
A drug and alcohol abuse recovery high school will be designated by the state education department. This is a pilot program mandating a report to the General Assembly by the end of 2020; PDE and the Department of Drug and Alcohol Services will draft the report.
In addition to the currently required educational instruction for alcohol, chemical and tobacco abuse, the legislation now requires further instruction in the prevention of opioid abuse. To reduce district costs, PDE will develop model curriculum which districts MAY use. Further, the state will develop in-service training programs for teachers.