Liquor-Funded Grant Program For Schools Legislation Introduced In House

Harrisburg Patriot-News

Gov. Tom Corbett’s proposal to direct money made off of the sale of the state liquor system to education is now a matter before the state House.

Rep. Ryan Aument, R-Lancaster, has introduced House Bill 1366 that he and Corbett say has the potential to generate $1 billion for school districts in the form of Passport for Learning grants.

Districts would be restricted to using the grants for supporting school safety; enhancing science, technology, engineering and math education; improving the early learning of core subjects in grades kindergarten to grade three; and personalized learning.

In his memo to colleagues seeking support for the legislation, Aument repeated the statement Corbett has made several times over in pushing his liquor privatization proposal.

“As the governor has said, ‘The sale of alcohol is not a core function of government — but education is.’ I agree with this statement, and that is why I am introducing this bill,” Aument said.

A poll released today by the Center for Opinion Research at Franklin & Marshall College indicates support for liquor privatization and also shows nearly one in three of the 536 voters polled endorse using the money from the sale of the state stores for education.

Specifically, the poll, which had a plus or minus 4.3 percent sampling error, shows 32% believe the money should be used to assist local school districts, 26% to reduce property taxes and 17% to fund road and bridge improvements.

Midstate school officials offered cautious enthusiasm to the idea of the liquor sale money for one-time grants to districts. While appreciative of the additional dollars, they feared that it creates a financial predicament for districts once the grant dollars disappear.

Nonetheless, Corbett issued a statement thanking Aument for “standing up for our students.” He said the liquor privatization plan gives consumers choice and convenience and “helps to secure our future by adding $1 billion in funding toward the education of our children, without raising any taxes.”

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