Jun. 30, 2015

HARRISBURG – The Beaver County Republican Delegation, including Reps. Jim Christiana (R-15) and Jim Marshall (R-14), along with Sen. Elder Vogel, Jr. (R-47), voted to send to the governor’s desk a provision granting approved private school status to a western Pennsylvania school, which provides specialized education services to students with multiple and/or profound disabilities.

McGuire Memorial School provides educational services for those with profound physical, developmental and behavioral disabilities, and offers supportive services to their families and caregivers. Many public schools are unable to provide these children with the adequate level of specialized care.

“McGuire Memorial School provides students with disabilities the individualized learning experiences that are crucial to educational success,” Marshall said. “Granting approved private school status will help to ensure that they receive the funding necessary to continue enhancing the quality of life of many local families. I applaud McGuire Memorial for its mission to serve others.”

Without approved private school status, a student’s home school district is responsible for 100 percent of the tuition costs associated with services provided to students of McGuire Memorial. Approved status eases the financial burden on school districts by authorizing the state to pick up 60 percent of the cost.

“Because McGuire lacks approved private school status, local children who require individualized care must stay in a school district that isn’t meeting their needs or they must ride the bus into Allegheny County,” said Vogel.

“McGuire provides specialized care for individuals with significant physical and developmental disabilities — care they can’t receive in a traditional public school,” Christiana said. “We must ensure we have convenient options available for all children that enable them to succeed and live life to the fullest.”

The provision was included in the state’s omnibus Fiscal Code, which was passed by the House Monday and is expected to be taken up by the Senate in advance of the June 30 budget deadline. Final approval status for McGuire Memorial School is contingent on the governor’s signature.

“Democrats on the House floor called the Fiscal Code a gimmick,” Christiana said. “Tell that to the parents who are counting on having care that meets their child’s unique needs available on July 1.”

Representative Jim Christiana
15th House District
Representative Jim Marshall
14th House District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Senator Elder Vogel, Jr.
47th Senatorial District
Pennsylvania State Senate
Media Contact: Abbey Haslam