A plan to make online courses available to middle school and high school students in Pennsylvania is before the state House.

Online education in the commonwealth has been limited, for the most part, to cyber charter schools and a few brick-and-mortar schools.

Rep. Ryan Aument wants to make all school districts offer such classes to students in grades six through 12. The first step, he said, is getting the state to make a database of vetted cyber courses.

Pitching the idea as a way for bricks-and-mortar schools to lure back students who have left for cyber charter schools, Aument said the clearinghouse may present a money-making opportunity for some districts.

"There's a real potential for school districts who design courses and submit to the clearinghouse or contract with other school districts who do not," said Aument, R-Lancaster.

The legislation also would open up a new market for commercial online course providers.

However, one company called Compass Learning, which already serves cyber schools in Pennsylvania, suggests equity and access to courses could become an issue for poorer schools.