It was school choice week at the Capitol. On Tuesday, three education committees took up HF386 (Kresha-R)/SF256 (Chamberlain-R)
bills The bill extends the individual K-12 education-expense tax credit to include private (both secular and religious) school tuition. It also creates scholarships where donors can contribute to foundations that will direct the money in scholarship form to low-income students in private schools. The donors will receive a tax credit for their donations. It has a relatively small cost of $35 million. Still, it pits those who want to expand parental choice to private schools, claiming public schools are failing their children, against those who oppose any state dollars shifted to private schools instead of being used to strengthen public schools. Read more here
This is not a true voucher program but it seems like one step closer to getting there.
It is clear that school choice will be a top priority for the Republicans who control the House and Senate. First, HF386/SF256 each have influential authors. Second, many Republican committee members expressed their frustration that the Governor's budget proposal lacked new reforms to reduce the achievement gap, particularly school choice. The Democrats responded that the Governor's proposal prioritizes getting funding to school districts where the districts will have local control to address the needs of their students.
As always, check out Brad's Blog
for more detailed information on what is happening at the Capitol.