Amid concerns, lawmakers advance disability scholarship grants (video)

A divided House Education Committee approved legislation (25-10) Tuesday that would offer parents with special-needs children grants up to $6,000 a year  to enroll their children in private school and receive daily special education services.

Supporters say it’s about choice for the parents and the child.

Legislators critical of House Bill 269 argued the bill would only serve to drain more resources from public schools  and could even be used for home schooled children.

Rep. Mickey Michaux said the money ($3000 per semester) would not be enough to fully cover the cost of tuition at a private school, leaving many low-income families out in the cold.

Rep. Paul Stam, a primary sponsor of the bill, suggested private schools would be “perfectly happy to work with parents if they know the money is coming.”

Rep. Larry D. Hall cautioned some parents might be pushed into loans they could ill afford with the hope that would give them the up-front money needed to enroll their child in a private school.

“The parents become sought after and recruited to bring their children to a school they cannot afford, then somehow financing is arranged through some other third party or service, and the parents end up being on the hook for the money that’s supposed to be reimburse,” said Rep. Hall.

The bill, which would provide nearly $3.7 million for the scholarships in the 2013-14 fiscal year, now heads to the House Finance Committee.

To hear a portion of Tuesday’s debate, click below:
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4 Comments

  1. Dallas H Woodhouse

    April 17, 2013 at 7:07 am

    What a noble stance for the 10 members to take.

    What part are the most proud of:

    Going after options for special needs children, who more than any other people need a vast range of choices to meet their needs

    or

    protecting the parents of disabled children based on the insluting idea they can’t manage their own bank accounts.

    What are series of stances attacking needy children, in the name of education establishments

  2. david esmay

    April 17, 2013 at 9:13 am

    What are you talking about? Why not increase funding to support special needs children in public schools instead of subsidizing tuition for wealthy families of special needs children to go to private for profit schools at the expense of the needs of lower and middle class families. It has nothing to do with choice, but it is a good mechanism for someone to profit from tax dollars.
    Every education bill to come out of the GOPer’s should be sub-titled, ” A humorous romp through the dysfunctional minds of Paul Stam and Phil Berger”.

  3. Jack

    April 17, 2013 at 10:50 am

    Oh yeah, this is going to work just fine.

    Our tax dollars at work to support the NCGA’s Guardians Of Privilege (GOP) to establish barriers to education. Back in the day it was called segregation.

  4. wncgirl

    April 17, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    I would like to propose a check-off box on our income tax returns… do your want your tax dollars going to public schools or private- then WE will have a choice and I think we all know the GOP really isn’t about choices it is about decrees and controlling our lives from conception to death.