Given all the hubbub around school vouchers being slipped into the NC House budget proposal last month, you might have missed that a few weeks ago members of a U.S. Senate committee voted down an amendment to the ESEA/NCLB Act that would have allowed states to turn Title I funding into school voucher programs.
The amendment, authored by U.S. Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky) and Tim Scott (R-S.C.), would have allowed states to have Title I federal funds follow low-income students to private and religious schools.
Title I funds are currently directed to schools that serve low-income students. To understand just how much North Carolina’s public schools rely on Title 1 funding, consider this: in 2012, NC’s public school districts received a total of $405,272,019 in Title I funds. That’s nearly half of all federal funding North Carolina receives annually and around 5 percent of the state’s total budget for education last year.
That’s a lot of money when compared with the voucher bill currently in the state budget proposal, which would cost North Carolina’s public schools at least $50 million over two years.