Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Pennsylvania recently released a list of the lowest rated public schools in the state. Based on this list, eligible students across the state may now have the opportunity to attend a higher-achieving public or nonpublic school pursuant to Pennsylvania’s Opportunity Scholarship Tax Program. Eligible students are those enrolled in the lowest performing schools, or those living within the attendance boundary of a low-achieving school, and students belonging to families with incomes no more than $75,000 plus $12,000 for every dependant household member.
Pennsylvania law requires the Pennsylvania Department of Education to notify school districts of their low-achieving status by February 1. After the schools have been notified, the parents of the children attending those schools must also be notified of the school’s low-achieving status and must additionally be provided with information on how to apply for the opportunity scholarships.
Over $50 million in tax credits across Pennsylvania have enabled the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Program to fund scholarships capped at $8,500 for a student without a disability, and $15,000 for a student with a disability. However, because funding for the scholarships is contingent on businesses making contributions in exchange for tax credits, the available amount of local scholarship money is uncertain.