Jul. 06, 2023

HARRISBURG – Kids trapped in failing schools will no longer have the chance to escape, thanks to Gov. Josh Shapiro’s broken Lifeline Scholarship promise, said Rep. Joe D’Orsie (R-Manchester). The governor, after repeatedly making a promise to kids stuck in the bottom 15% of failing schools, flip-flopped, vowing now to line-item veto the Pennsylvania Award for Student Success scholarship program in the budget approved by House Democrats. 

“I was initially optimistic that Shapiro would claim this a bipartisan school choice win, but in the end, he capitulated to radicals in his own party and bowed to the most powerful special interest group in our state, the Pennsylvania State Education Association,” D’Orsie said. “Playing politics and backtracking isn’t anything new in Harrisburg, but when kids’ futures are at stake, it’s especially egregious.”

The scholarships built into the budget agreement allowed for $100 million for students trapped in the bottom 15% of public school districts, providing $2,500 to half-day kindergarten students, $5,000 to students in full-day kindergarten through eighth grade and $10,000 to high school students. 

“By comparison, this allotment is a small fraction of the education budget – and an even smaller fraction of the overall budget (0.2%), but it would have done so much for the neediest of students,” noted D’Orsie.

School choice is a policy topic that has gained steam in Pennsylvania and across the United States. States like Ohio, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina and Wisconsin have implemented school choice initiatives and the early data looks favorable. 
“Pennsylvania missed a chance to fund students and not systems with Shapiro’s 11th-hour balk,
 said D’Orsie.

“While the governor turned his back on students in need, I remain steadfast in my commitment to making sure all Pennsylvania students are given the opportunity to attain a quality education,” D’Orsie said, “The momentum on school choice is in our favor and Shapiro’s broken promise won’t stop us from advocating for Pennsylvania kids.”

Representative Joe D’Orsie
47th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Greg Gross