The Rittenhouse Review

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

Friday, November 19, 2004  

Cyber School Offers Free Tuition

Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) has decided to withdraw five of his children from the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School in response to the Penn Hills, Pa., school board's decision that the senator and his family are not residents and therefore cannot impel the school district to pay the $37,775 in annual tuition on the children's behalf. The Santorums said they will return to home-schooling their children. And the lawmaker's spokeswoman said reimbursement for the district's past tuition payments is unlikely. (For the latest report, see "Santorum Residency Questioned," by Oliver Prichard, Philadelphia Inquirer, November 19. [Note: The Inquirer misstates the name of the school.])

In response, "the cyber school's teachers have offered to donate their services so the children's education is uninterrupted," that according to a report in today's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ("Cyber School Faculty Offers Free Services to Santorum's Five Children," by Eleanor Chute). The Post-Gazette also reports, "The Santorums, though, would have to pay for computers, Internet access and material. There was no immediate response from the Santorums."

Sounds a little suspect to me. One could readily argue the teachers' offer to donate their services essentially constitutes a gift of free tuition. I can't imagine even Sen. Santorum would be brazen, or stupid, enough to take them up on it.

[Post-publication addendum: See also "Hey, Rick, You Know Where to Put Your Money," by Philadelphia Daily News columnist John Baer. Pull quote: "Yo, Rick, know what? Make up the difference. Cough up the 20G. You make, what, $158,100 a year and your whole life's a federal write-off? You weren't entitled. Someone else paid. You should pay back. Also, seeing as you're in the business of making laws (and a lawyer), maybe you oughta make yourself a little more familiar with laws, especially those directly affecting your immediate family. And, as someone who drips of holier-than-thou (your Senate Republican Conference says you "made your mark" stressing "the need for fiscal and personal responsibility") you should maybe consider (oh, what's that phrase?) practicing what you preach?"]

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