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Group Looks for More Oversight in Education Initiative

A left-leaning think tank is skeptical that the governor's plan to expand the state's Education Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program will work. The Keystone Research Center said they want to see the program audited and academic performance monitored.

The EITC initiative gives tax credits to businesses that fund private school scholarships and public school extracurricular programs.

Stephen Herzenberg, who runs the Keystone Research Center, said there's no meaningful financial or education accountability built into it. "There's a certain amount of self-reporting of how money is used, or the number of scholarships given out, but it's very, very basic information on the financial side," said Herzenberg. "Accountability was pretty much paper-thin, is one way to put it."

State Representative Jim Christiana, a Beaver County Republican and proponent of expanding EITC, said businesses should be in control of donating to schools they think use their money wisely. "I think the responsibility comes from the donors. You know, do the donors feel like the people that are contributing to these funds, do they feel like the money's being spent responsibly?"

The state earmarks $75 million to EITC. Governor Corbett has called for an increase in that funding as part of his education reform plan.