HARRISBURG – First-grader Nichole Bartolomeo was getting lost in the shuffle.
She was one of nearly 30 students in her class after the Ellwood City Area School District consolidated four elementary schools into a single building in 2010. She was shy and reserved, and her parents did not think she was getting the kind of personal attention that would bring Nichole out of her bubble.
With a single income – Nichole’s father, Daniel, drives a delivery truck – and twin girls in kindergarten, Nichole’s parents believed they were stuck with public school.
Then the Bartolomeos heard about a state tax credit program to help families pay for private school. They enrolled Nichole and her sisters in Holy Redeemer, the local Catholic school, using money from Pennsylvania’s Educational Improvement Tax Credit program – part of an expanding policy of promoting school choice pushed by the governor.