Sen. Santorum Benefits From Charter School Aid

Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) removed his five children from an online charter school in Pennsylvania after questions were raised about taxpayer support of their tuition.

In mid November, a Penn Hills School Board member called on Santorum to reimburse $100,000 to the school district for public funds used since 2001 to pay for the Santorum children’s tuition at a Pennsylvania online charter school. Under state law, the public school district in which a student lives must pay the cost of students enrolled in cyber charter schools.

Erin Vecchio argued that Santorum did not reside with his children in the district and should not have been eligible for the public support. The Associated Press reported that despite owning a home in Penn Hills, the Santorums live in Leesburg, Va.

After the Penn Hills school board member raised the issue, the district superintendent asked the state Department of Education to determine whether Santorum and his five children, who had been attending the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School, were residents of Penn Hills.

Santorum subsequently issued a statement that his children would no longer attend the charter school and would instead be home-schooled.

“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,” reads Santorum’s statement.

As Church & State went to press, Santorum had not announced whether he would reimburse tuition costs paid by the Penn Hills School District.