(HARRISBURG) – State Senator Ryan Aument (R-36) has introduced legislation that would create a universal Education Savings Account (ESA) for parents and students to utilize during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Aument said the bill is of particular importance now because the educational disruption experienced by students for the past two years has been immense. Experts say that many students do not excel in the remote learning format, and their educational and emotional growth has been harmed because of it. The proposal, Senate Bill 1015, will be similar to previous ESA bills that have been circulated in the General Assembly in that it will utilize a universal fund intended to give parents the flexibility to send their child to a school of their choice. Eligible parents would be authorized to use money transferred into an education savings account to offset costs associated with educational alternatives to their public school which could include services such as tutors, at-home instructional content, tuition and testing. This temporary program would expire when the state exits the pandemic and moves into the endemic phase of COVID-19 and would be paid for using federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act. In utilizing federal funds, this program would not financially disadvantage public schools as no current education appropriation would be altered or reduced. Senate Bill 1015 has been referred to the Senate Education Committee for consideration.