Dec. 13, 2023

HARRISBURG – To cap off her first year as a member of the House of Representatives, legislation co-prime sponsored by freshman Rep. Jill Cooper (R-Westmoreland) was approved by the House on a final vote today and will head to Gov. Josh Shapiro’s desk.

House Bill 1258 improves the current law pertaining to dual enrollment programs, which allows high school students to enroll in college-level classes. The bill eliminates the requirement that students enrolled in such programs are removed from the school’s average daily membership. Commonly referred to as the “ADM,” the average daily membership impacts state funding to local school districts.

“The current process creates a disincentive for school districts to have dual enrollment programs. Harrisburg shouldn’t be hindering innovation; we should be fostering it,” Cooper said. “Even as a House freshman, I was confident that the topic would engage other House members.”

The bill passed in the House earlier this year, but the Senate amended it by removing a section that made the change temporary.

The concern was first brought to Cooper by Franklin Regional School District Superintendent Dr. Jamie Piraino.

“Dr. Piraino’s commitment to Pennsylvania education drove him to advocate for such a change to the law. He knew that at some point, schools would have to look at cutting back or eliminating these programs because of the financial impacts,” Cooper said. “When a student begins earning college credits in high school, they save themselves and their families a lot of money, curb student debt and are able to enter to workforce sooner.”

The subject also had the attention of Rep. Stephen Kinsey (D-Philadelphia). He and Cooper worked together to draft House Bill 1258 and also came together as co-chairs of the Pennsylvania House Bipartisan “Meet Me in the Middle” Caucus.

“Education is a tool that is meant to empower our students and give them greater opportunities to succeed in life. Dual enrollment programs provide high school students an opportunity to take college-level courses and earn college credits,” Kinsey said. “School districts should not lose out on funding because their students enroll in one of these courses that propels their academic career while still at said school.”

“A Pennsylvania family saving money and avoiding excessive debt goes beyond political objectives and I am glad that the bill generated bipartisan interest,” Cooper said. “Rep. Kinsey is an experienced legislator and it was an honor to work with him on this.”

Representative Jill Cooper
55th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives