RELEASE: Senate Bill 1 Endorsed By Key Philadelphia Labor Unions

IBEW Local 98 and Laborers’ District Council Announce Support of Opportunity Scholarships for Low-Income Students

March 3, 2011 (Philadelphia, PA) – The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 98 and The Laborers’ District Council of the Metropolitan Area of Philadelphia and Vicinity today announced their support of Senate Bill 1, The Opportunity Scholarship and Educational Improvement Tax Credit Act. The bill, which was introduced by Senators Jeffrey Piccola and Anthony Hardy Williams and co-sponsored by 15 other senators, would initially allow low-income parents whose children attend one of Pennsylvania’s worst performing public schools to use a portion of the money being spent to send their child to the failing school to instead send their child to a better performing public or private school. The bill expands to ultimately provide Opportunity Scholarships to all of Pennsylvania’s low-income families. The bill also increases the popular Education Improvement Tax Credit program that provides scholarships to children on working class families.

School choice and opportunity scholarships have become key issues across the country and especially here in Pennsylvania. Total annual public spending on Pennsylvania’s basic education exceeds $26 billion, yet failing schools continue to exist.

“We previously supported Senate Bill 1405 and we enthusiastically support Senate Bill 1,” said IBEW Local 98 Business Manager John J. Dougherty. “Opportunity Scholarships and an expanded EITC program will rescue thousands of kids currently trapped in failing schools. This is not a partisan issue. Everybody agrees that a good education is essential in today’s world. We believe that children from all economic backgrounds deserve a chance for a bright future and opportunity scholarships, EITC and other school choice programs will give them that chance.”

Laborer’s District Council Business Manager Ryan Boyer added, “Senate Bill 1 provides school choice to lower income families in a fiscally responsible way, without hurting public schools, because it leaves some funding with the local school district to cover fixed costs. We’re proud to support this bill, which will help improve out education system.”