House committee members vote to include $50 million in budget for private school vouchers

Members of the House appropriations committee gathered today to debate their proposed budget for 2013-15.

The budget includes all of the language from the school voucher bill, or HB 944 Opportunity Scholarship Act, which would siphon $50 million over two years from public education and funnel that money to private schools.

Rep. Chris Whitmire, a Republican from Transylvania County, put forth an amendment that would have removed the school voucher language from the budget, calling the voucher bill a “Trojan horse” that would have brought the government into private settings and had not been fully vetted by the entire House.

Whitmire also cited the fact that in many rural, low-income areas, there are no private schools to provide the kind of school choice that the voucher bill aims to support.

The bill’s sponsors, Reps. Bryan and Brandon, joined several other lawmakers to oppose the amendment, pointing to vouchers’ success in Charlotte and research that indicates other voucher programs in the nation positively affect student outcomes.

Rep. Rick Glazier stood to support removing school vouchers from the budget, pointing out that the legislature is having a hard enough time funding our first system of public education, and that it would be even harder to fund a second system of education.

Chair of the House education committee and lifelong educator Rep. James Langdon said that school vouchers are a step in the wrong direction.

The amendment to remove school vouchers from the budget failed 38-48. The full House will consider the budget with school vouchers, unless another amendment is brought forth prior to the committee’s adjournment.

Also of note thus far in the House budget debate:

  • Rep. George Cleveland put forth an amendment that would have put the language from HB 239, a bill that died in the House Education Committee, back into the budget. The bill would repeal in-state tuition for out-of-state scholarship students and includes those receiving the prestigious Morehead scholar program. His amendment failed, just barely.
  • Rep. Rick Glazier put forth an amendment that would have saved supplemental pay for school nurses by removing the money in the budget tagged for PEFNC to develop charter schools in rural areas. Facing pushback from GOP members, Glazier briefly tabled his amendment while he searched for an alternative funding source for the amendment. Ultimately the amendment passed with the provision that money for the supplemental funding would be found at a later date.
  • Rep. Mickey Michaux put forth an amendment to reinstate supplemental pay for teachers holding masters degrees. The amendment failed.
  • Another amendment put forward to put the money tagged for PEFNC into textbooks also failed.


  1. Lisa Wilbourne

    June 11, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    I can’t believe I still can’t believe it.

    So, pardon my ignorance, after this committee finishes tearing apart everything in this state that has a shred of goodness, what’s the next step? The budget goes to the full house to vote? Then the senate?

  2. Lindsay Wagner

    June 11, 2013 at 8:39 pm

    Lisa, the House approps committee approved the budget tonight. It goes to the Finance committee tomorrow, then on to the House floor tomorrow afternoon.

    After that, I believe the House and Senate have to get together in a conference committee to work out the differences.

    Then on to Gov McCrory for his signature, then it becomes law.

    I hope I have that right!

  3. Jacqui Hawkins

    June 12, 2013 at 1:08 am

    I’m with you Lisa Wilbourne, the Republicans in this state have taken us so far back and they are only in the General Assembly to run a bully pulpit and support an agenda, not to serve the people of North Carolina. Shameful and should be criminal.

  4. Frances Jenkins

    June 12, 2013 at 8:17 am

    Maybe the Republicans are saving North Carolina students from a system that forces 70% students entering the community college system to get remediation before enrolling in regular classes.

  5. Doug Gibson

    June 12, 2013 at 1:06 pm


    Not so much. It’s starting to look as if the legislature is more interested in saving students from the community college system.

  6. Jim Wisdy

    June 12, 2013 at 11:40 pm

    Frances – more kids than ever have applied and attend college than ever in the history of this country, and that also applies to community colleges. However, community colleges attract the “regular” students coming out of high school, many of which probably don’t belong in college to begin with other than to perhaps develop or improve a trade. The bottom line is this, yes remediation rates have gone up in 4 year universities and community colleges, but so has the applicants and entrees. With more entrees, more students that have been exposed to poverty (during their K-12 years and beyond) are now making it into colleges and university and they require extensive remediation because they were never on grade level to begin with. I am advising students to be cautious about even entering college or university, given the fact that there are plenty of graduates with degrees walking around without jobs. My advice to high school students debating college or university entrance is to figure out whether the degree they want will be worth it when they get out. In many cases, students shouldn’t be wasting their money.

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