Republican Presidential candidate Rick Santorum is an avid supporter of returning school administration to local authorities. The former Pennsylvania Senator often talks about going back to the “one room school house,” and even advocates home schooling citing the “weird socialization” children receive in public school. But Santorum’s home schooling of his own children wasn’t as laissez-faire as you might expect.
Santorum campaigned successfully against his opponent in his 1990 election to Congress by saying he was out of touch because he lived outside the district in Virginia. Santorum, however, would move his own family to Virginia during his tenure in the Senate. Santorum’s children, while living in Virginia between 2001 and 2004 attended a Pennsylvania online charter school at the cost of the Pennsylvania taxpayer.
Pennsylvania state law requires any school district to pay for the education of children who live within their district, but attend cyber schools. Santorum, although living in Leesburg, Virginia with his family, claimed residency in Penn Hills, Pennsylvania. The cost of the educating Santorum’s children in Virginia ran the Penn Hills School District a bill just over $100,000.
Santorum defended the move during his 2006 campaign. He did in fact own a home, next to his wife Karen's parent’s home in Penn Hills, and did pay taxes on the house. When repeatedly pressed on the issue during his failed 2006 reelection bid, Santorum would reply, “I pay taxes" and “my tax dollars at work.”
Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
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