NEWS: Corbett Makes Final Push For Vouchers in PA

From The Patriot-News:

Gov. Tom Corbett’s push for school vouchers is not over yet.

Even as lawmakers put the final touches on the 2011-12 state budget, Corbett launched a two-minute drill yesterday to see if the General Assembly can hand him a victory on a signature piece of his gubernatorial campaign.

Corbett raised the issue of vouchers at a news conference yesterday. He asserted that there is still time to deliver a plan that would provide taxpayer-funded vouchers so parents could send their children to a private or public school of their choice.

“Contrary to some of the rumors I hear out there, we have been working on it,” Corbett said. “We’ve been working on it behind the scenes. To me, it is an important issue to the people of Pennsylvania. They want this option.

“We still can get this done,” Corbett said.

At a late afternoon closed-door meeting, Corbett made his pitch personally to House and Senate Republican leaders.

Afterward, Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, R-Jefferson County, said there’s interest in the Senate in enacting some school choice components and interest in the House in enacting others. “Whether it comes together, I think, [today] is D-Day for that. We’re running out of time,” Scarnati said.

He said there was no package in place Tuesday night. But staffers planned to work through the night on a plan that mixes some charter school reforms with school choice measures. It could see Senate committee action today.

The effort is probably no better than a coin toss to see if it would get through both the House and Senate in time to reach Corbett before the summer recess.

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