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Election 2010: Hoeffel & Williams Spar On School Vouchers

PhillyClout dropped in on another gubernatorial forum last night -- this time on job training and the state's workforce -- where the four Democrats and two Republicans rarely found areas of disagreement. The one exception was the controversial topic of school vouchers, the redirection of public money for private tuition.

Election 2010: Hoeffel & Williams Spar On School Vouchers

PhillyClout dropped in on another gubernatorial forum last night -- this time on job training and the state's workforce -- where the four Democrats and two Republicans rarely found areas of disagreement.  The one exception was the controversial topic of school vouchers, the redirection of public money for private tuition. 

State Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams, a Democrat, is funding his run largely through big donations from people interested in vouchers and other school reform topics.  The Republicans, state Attorney General Tom Corbett and state Rep. Sam Rohrer, also favor vouchers.  Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Hoeffel, a Democrat pitching himself as the most progressive candidate in the race, said he opposes vouchers.

Hoeffel serves on the development committee of the Community Partnership School in Philadelphia, which serves pre-kindergarten to fourth-grade students and takes no public funding.  The school participates in the state's Education Improvement Tax Credit program, started in 2001 to give corporations state tax credits in return for donations to schools.

Hoeffel last night rejected suggestions that the EITC program is akin to vouchers. "I think the kind of non-public school voucher program that Tony Williams advocates would wreck public education," Hoeffel said. "That's just a totally different concept than that tax credit, which I think is a viable incentive."

Williams countered that critics often deride the EITC program as a "back-door voucher" that could wreck public schools. "I think they're at least kissing cousins if they're not directly related," Williams said of the program and vouchers. "This is public money that goes to private schools."

About this blog
Chris Brennan, a native Philadelphian and graduate of Temple University, joined the Daily News in 1999. He has written about SEPTA, the Philadelphia School District, the legalization of casino gambling, state government, the mayor, the governor, City Council and political campaigns. E-mail tips to brennac@phillynews.com
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Jenny DeHuff is a 2005 graduate of the University of Rhode Island, where she cut her teeth in journalism. A South Philly transplant from New England, she joined the Daily News City Hall Bureau in 2013. For the past several years, she has worked as an investigative reporter exposing corruption in suburban politics, covering sometimes ghastly criminal court cases and following the people’s money and how its spent. In addition to being a dogged news hound, she enjoys reading and writing about travel, animals, Irish whiskey and aviation. E-mail tips to dehuffj@phillynews.com
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Sean Collins Walsh is from Bucks County and went to Northwestern University. He joined the Daily News copy desk in 2012 and now covers the Nutter administration. Before that, he interned at papers including The New York Times, The Dallas Morning News and The Seattle Times. E-mail tips to walshSE@phillynews.com
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