A school district involved in a dispute with U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum (search) over the cost of his children's education will now pay cyber school tuition for residents who are called out of the district to work elsewhere.

The policy change was approved by the Penn Hills School District (search) board Wednesday night, but the board is still trying to get reimbursed for money it paid to educate Santorum's children at an Internet charter school during the 2003-04 and 2004-05 school years.

The district didn't want to pay for the children's education because the Santorums primarily live in Leesburg, Va. Santorum also owns a house next to his in-laws in Penn Hills, where he is also registered to vote.

Santorum has said the dispute was a partisan attack by local Democrats.

State law requires school districts to pay for cyber or other charter schools used by its residents' children.

The district said it spent about $70,000 on tuition to the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School (search), which is based in Midland. Santorum said the district's costs were about $34,000, once state subsidies are included.

State education officials last month said the school district didn't object soon enough in Santorum's case, so the district isn't owed a refund. The district is appealing that ruling.

The school district's new resolution passed 6-2. Board member Erin Vecchio, one of those who opposed the measure, said she doesn't think the new exception should apply to Santorum because he has never lived full-time in the municipality.

"You have to be able to prove you're a (Penn Hills) resident. He doesn't sleep there," said Vecchio, a local Democratic committeewoman who raised the issue last fall.

Santorum's spokesman Robert Traynham said the new policy proves Santorum did nothing wrong.

"This is a complete vindication for the men and women who wear our country's uniform, to missionaries and to elected officials who are Pennsylvania residents that are forced to live out of state," Traynham said.

Santorum removed his children from the cyber school after district officials raised the issue last fall. They are now being home-schooled in Virginia.