Pennsylvania Lt. Governor and Democratic Senate nominee John Fetterman sends at least one of his children to a private school with a five-figure tuition despite opposing voucher programs, according to a Friday report from The Washington Free Beacon.
At least one of the candidate’s children attends Winchester Thurston School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which costs $34,250 per year, The Free Beacon reported. The children would otherwise attend Woodland Hills School District, which ranks in the bottom 15% of school districts in the Keystone State.
Fetterman told Reclaim Philadelphia in 2018 that he opposes the expansion of charter schools on the grounds that “local control needs to be reinstated.” The candidate, who is running against Republican nominee and celebrity Dr. Mehmet Oz, argued that “taking money away from public schools and putting them into charter and private schools does not solve anything.”
Pennsylvania’s funding formula provides funds to school districts based upon enrollment, according to The Free Beacon, implying that Fetterman’s choice to solicit a private school indeed removes money from the public school system — a reality that could have ramifications for Pennsylvania’s Senate race, as many voters have identified education policy as a top issue.
The outlet was unable to determine whether all three of Fetterman’s children presently attend Winchester Thurston — the state’s eleventh-best private school, according to Niche — although his wife, Gisele Barreto Fetterman, has been identified as a Winchester Thurston parent since at least 2015, The Free Beacon reported.
While Winchester Thurston has a 100% college acceptance rate and a 36% minority student body, Woodland Hills has an 85% acceptance rate and a 75% minority student body. Fetterman provoked ire in 2013 by responding to what he believed was gunfire by pulling a firearm on an African American and detaining him until police arrived — an incident that has provoked unease among black Democratic voters.
It is not clear how Fetterman paid for his children to attend private school. During his tenure as mayor of Braddock, Pennsylvania, between 2006 and 2019, Fetterman received a salary of $1,800 — yet his parents provided him with a five-figure annual allowance and his sister sold him an apartment virtually for free.
Beyond his rejection of school choice vouchers, Fetterman has affirmed left-wing social policies such as the creation of monitored injection sites. He has also defended Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, who is currently under investigation from Republican and Democratic members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for allegedly neglecting to enforce the city’s laws.
Fetterman also experienced a stroke days before the primary elections. During the few public appearances he has made amid the general election contest, he has appeared to slur his speech, repeat himself, and lose his train of thought, despite a letter from his cardiologist stating that he is sufficiently healthy to serve in the Senate. Much of the Fetterman campaign has centered on online trolling of Oz over his links to New Jersey and ownership of multiple properties.
Fetterman is currently leading Oz — who garnered controversy of his own during the Republican primary due to past support of abortion and gun control — in the polls. As of August, Fetterman led Oz by 48.4% to 43.5%, according to a survey conducted by the Trafalgar Group.