Local
5:51 pm
Mon October 17, 2011

EITC Program Under Microscope at State Capitol

As negotiations begin on school reform in Pennsylvania, some advocates are calling for greater oversight of some programs that may see an increase in funding.

Governor Tom Corbett wants the state to put more money toward its Education Improvement Tax Credit program, or EITC. That gives tax write-offs to businesses that fund scholarships for private school students and extra programs for public schools.

Wythe Keever is a spokesman for the Pennsylvania State Education Association. He said the group has no problem with the EITC at its current funding level.

"However, if it's going to be expanded significantly, there needs to be additional oversight and accountability. We don't oppose or support EITC, but we also want to point out the effectiveness of the program has never really been measured," said Keever.

But advocates say current levels of oversight are sufficient.

Funding is reported to the state, and parental involvement provides an additional check on money going to the wrong place.

"The oversight is built in. I am not aware of any significant problems or even minor problems related to the EITC program at all," said Michael Geer, with the Pennsylvania Family Council.

The governor's office says legislation will likely be based on a combination of bills. One measure passed in the state House would gradually increase the EITC funding from its current $75 million to $200 million.