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October 3, 2012 Letters to the Editor

If you had purchased a service from a business that failed to meet your expectations and did not perform according to standards, would you continue to patronize that business and pay a premium price for the service, even if you knew you could get better service elsewhere for a lower price?

Probably not.

But that is exactly what the taxpayers of Butler County are being required to do by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

The Butler Eagle has published several articles about the low-performing school within the Butler School District, including the fact that its rating in the bottom 15 percent of schools in the state qualifies its students for “Opportunity Scholarships” enabling them to transfer to higher-performing schools in other school districts, or to private or parochial schools.

There are seven private schools in the county that qualify to receive these students, and while I can’t speak for all of them, I do know that there are several that offer a quality academic environment, are fully accredited, and would save the state about $6,000 per student if that’s where they would choose to go.

The problem is that the Pennsylvania Department of Education will not fund the opportunity scholarship program with the money it is paying for these students in the public system. Private schools must solicit contributions from businesses through a tax-credit program in order to provide the funding, even though these businesses already have paid their corporate taxes to help fund the public school system, along with the parents of the students.

They must continue to pay, even though the service they are paying for isn’t meeting the standards set by the Education Department.

Portersville Christian School has a limited number of seats available for students from families who want to see their children thrive in a superior academic environment, with the added bonus of a philosophy of education that supports the values parents are teaching their children at home.

Since the state seems reluctant to pay for this, we would welcome the partnership of individuals or businesses in Butler County who see the value of quality education, and are willing to make some sacrifices to help provide it.