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NC Republican’s Private School Voucher Program Would Benefit Existing Private School Families While Neglecting Public Schools

Source: NC Insider

From the national to the state level, Republicans are aiming to pull millions out of public schools through a renewed private school push. In North Carolina, state Republicans are rehashing their private school voucher program through their latest bill, “Choose Your School, Choose Your Future Act.”

Bills in both chambers, Senate Bill 406 and House Bill 832 would use taxpayer dollars to support Republicans’ “Opportunity Scholarships” for wealthy families and those already enrolled in private schools. 

The legislation would essentially give the wealthiest families a voucher equal to 45% of the state’s average per-student expenditure, and SB406 would provide more than $2.2 billion of taxpayer money for private school vouchers over the next 10 years. 

“This bill will mean there’s not one but two systems of schools,” Rep. Tim Longest, a Wake County Democrat, told The News & Observer. “One for the wealthy who can now retreat to their private schools with public money given by all, and defunded public schools for the rest.”

While state Democrats, educators and families have advocated for Republicans to fund public schools in accordance with the Leandro plan, SB 406 has designated more than half of what the state is supposed to spend under the Leandro decision on the Opportunity Scholarship Program over the next seven years.

“Rather than expanding a program that by its definition cannot support every student, let’s invest in our public schools, so students have safe schools, inviting classrooms, a well-rounded curriculum, class sizes that are small enough for one-on-one attention, and support services such as health care, nutrition, and after-school programs for students who need them,” Tamika Walker Kelly, president of the NC Association of Educators, told NC Newsline.

Currently, North Carolina is ranked 48th for public school funding level and ranks 50th in school funding efforts.

Read more at NC Insider

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