HARRISBURG – Speaker of the House Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) is excited about the enactment of Act 55 of 2017, comprehensive education reform legislation, despite the fact the governor refused to sign the bill. As of today, 10 days have elapsed since the House and Senate put House Bill 178 on the governor’s desk, making it become law despite no action by the governor. Turzai issued the following statement:
“While citizens would like Gov. Tom Wolf to side with Pennsylvania students over special interests, it is important that this exceptional education reform legislation has become law, even without his signature.
“This new law protects excellent teachers by ending the practice of seniority-based layoffs in Pennsylvania and instead requiring teacher performance to guide furlough and reinstatement decisions. Seniority would remain a component, but not the sole factor, of the furlough process.
“We also expanded the successful Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) scholarship program by $10 million, to $185 million annually, for kids who otherwise may not be able to escape struggling schools. Children should not be trapped in a school just because of a ZIP code. By allowing parents to choose what is best for their children, these programs ensure students of all backgrounds are afforded a quality education. The demand to increase the amount of scholarships is growing for a reason – they work.
“We also allow two or more high-performing charter schools to consolidate under a single board of trustees and a single administrator. This will remove a costly administrative hurdle and simplify the process for high-performing charter schools, allowing them to focus on their goal of providing excellent education opportunities for children.
“The Public School Code bill which became law today includes numerous additional education reforms that will benefit students throughout the Commonwealth. Today is a good day for students and families in Pennsylvania.”
Representative Mike Turzai
Speaker of the House
Pennsylvania House of Representatives