It looks as if the tax credit scholarship program, which would have allowed companies to get dollar-for-dollar tax credits in exchange for giving poor children $4,000 scholarships to private schools, isn’t going any further this year. It failed a vote in a House Finance committee, and isn’t likely to resurface.
House Majority Leader Paul Stam’s bill to support private schools with public funds — a.k.a. vouchers — won’t be law any time soon. Despite his high status in the Republican Party, Stam couldn’t get his plan funded in the state budget, and his efforts to get the bill enacted separately are apparently at an end today as the current “short” legislative session heads to a close.
Stam’s bill failed, on an 11-11 vote, to win the House Finance Committee’s approval this morning. I read that he filed a minority report and might try to bring the report to the House floor for a vote. But just now, Darrell Allison, of Parents for Educational Freedom in NC, the leading advocacy group for Stam’s plan, told his supporters that the bill, House Bill 1104, is dead for this year.
And here’s what Allison had to say in the statement on the PEFNC website.
We’ve come a long way in two years in working to provide all children with more quality educational options. Even with the N.C. Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program, many thought this program would not make it very far in the legislative process while others tried to demonize it as an effort to destroy our traditional public schools. But through heartfelt support from thousands of people who rallied and contacted legislators in favor of this program, we established a strong foundation of support to help us begin planning for next year.
We have much to celebrate in the area of education reform with two historic measures being passed last session, and we know that as a result of the support network we’ve built across the state, education reform is here to stay. We will continue with our efforts of ensuring that every child, regardless of income or zip code, is able to have the quality education that they’re entitled to.