The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture


Thursday, November 18, 2004  

SANTORUM SCHOOL-FINANCING SCHEME DECLARED INVALID
Penn Hills School District Stops Personalized Gravy Train

The alternative scheme Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) derived to finance the non-traditional eduction of his children by the taxpayers of the Penn Hills, Pa., school district has been declared invalid. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports ("Santorum Told Kids Ineligible for School," by Joe Fahy):

U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum said last night that he and his wife, Karen, are withdrawing their five school-age children from the Western Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School.

Santorum has come under criticism from officials in Penn Hills, where he owns a house, who say the school district should not have to foot the $38,000 annual bill to educate his children.

The Santorums do not live in the district full time and spend most of their time in Leesburg, Va., outside Washington, D.C.

"The school district has just informed us that after reviewing our situation, only children who live in a community on a full-time basis are eligible to be educated in a public cyber charter school program," Santorum said.

And in a separate article, "Penn Hills Director Wants Santorum to Refund Tuition," the Post-Gazette reports at least one school-board member wants the Santorums to reimburse the school district:

Erin Vecchio, a school board member and chairman of the Penn Hills Democratic Party, said last night she expects the Republican senator to pay back the money used to educate five of his six children. Penn Hills pays the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School, a computer-based school in Midland that allows students to work from home, $38,000 a year to educate Santorum's children. The children have been enrolled in the cyber school the past four years. Until this school year, the school was known as the Western Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School.

Four years, $38K a year, that's $152,000. That's a pretty big check. Then again, it was also a lot of other people's money.

[Post-publication addendum (November 19): See also "Santorum Residency Questioned," by Oliver Prichard, Philadelphia Inquirer, November 19.]

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