HARRISBURG, PA (May. 7, 2024) – Members of the CLEAR Coalition today again voiced their strong opposition to yet another proposal for private school tuition vouchers – Senate Bill 795.

The bill to redirect taxpayer resources to private and religious schools is egregious, especially when the Pennsylvania Legislature has a constitutional obligation to respond to the Commonwealth Court ruling and enact meaningful changes to our public school funding system. The court was clear: vouchers are not a remedy to the state’s unconstitutional school funding program.

The same lawmakers who are seeking to divert public money to private schools are also balking at the solution proposed by the bipartisan Basic Education Funding Commission as unaffordable.

“The public school system provides stable, union jobs with fair wages and benefits, ensuring the retention of experienced and dedicated employees and ultimately creating a safer and more nurturing environment for students, around 90% of whom attend public schools,” said Gabe Morgan, Executive VP of 32BJ SEIU Pennsylvania, which represents school bus drivers, building engineers, asbestos workers, electricians, HVAC technicians, cleaners and other public school workers. “Every dollar counts when it comes to our future. Funding our public schools and building them up as a foundation for our children to grow is the way to go, rather than diverting money to voucher schemes that don’t improve outcomes for our children.”

Many other states that have enacted voucher programs have seen them balloon to budget-busting unaccountable programs that have been found to produce worse outcomes for students.

“It is irresponsible for lawmakers to send taxpayer dollars to private and religious schools when they have not yet addressed the problem they’ve been ordered by the Commonwealth Court to fix: adequately funding our public schools,” said PSEA President Aaron Chapin. “When Pennsylvania schools are adequately funded, students can thrive.”

During the summer of 2023, CLEAR Coalition members led the effort to defeat a $100 million tuition voucher proposal that Governor Shapiro had negotiated with Senate Republican leaders.

The CLEAR Coalition represents more than 900,000 Pennsylvanians from seven public employee unions in Pennsylvania.