Voucher Bills Designed to Divert Dollars from Public to Private Schools

Vouchers are part of the scheme to privatize and “profitize” public education – to funnel taxpayer dollars to unregulated, unaccountable private and/or for-profit schools. Public schools operate under the most stringent standards of government accountability and transparency; private schools are completely unaccountable to taxpayers for the public dollars that go into their coffers. Vouchers have been shown to be ineffective in states that have tried them.

Ask legislators to vote NO on the following voucher schemes that divert taxpayer dollars from public schools to private schools. Click here to find contact information for the legislators who represent your school district. 

SB 2325
 & HB 765 (Authored by Sen. Collins and Rep. Crawford)
Individualized Education Funds – Divert funds from the State Treasury to provide non-public school parents debit-type cards, pre-loaded with $6,000 in taxpayer funds, that they can use to pay tuition to private or online schools and for-profit providers, with no accountability for the quality of education provided students
  • These bills shift state funding to private or online schools for students with special needs
  • Both bills classify children with food allergies or obesity, young children with minor speech issues (trouble saying Rs), and kids with mild ADHD, among many others, as children with special needs (see examples of these classifications here)
  • Participating  non-public schools can pick and choose the students they want to accept; private schools receive the same amount of funding for students with food allergies as for those with cognitive disabilities – which children will they choose?
  • Participating non-public schools are not required to offer any special education services at all
  • Participating non-public schools are not held accountable for the quality of education and services they provide to special needs students, despite receiving taxpayer funds for those services
  • Mandates payments to Individualized Education Funds (IEFs) at $6,000 per student, an amount equal to the fully funded MAEP base student cost (far more funding than children in our underfunded public schools receive) plus the proportionate share of state special education funds, whether or not the child would qualify for those funds in a public school 
  • Bills state that participating private schools that receive taxpayer dollars are protected from being identified publicly
  • Students are eligible who have either an IEP (Individualized Education Program) or a Section 504 accommodation
  • SB 2325 allows the participation of up to 2,500 students with a 504 accommodation and places no limit on the number of IEP students who can receive vouchers
  • HB 765 limits the program to 500 students with a 504 accommodation and places no limit on the number of IEP participants

HB 831 (Authored by Rep. Barker)
Speech-Language Therapy Scholarships – Diverts funds from the State Treasury to pay private school tuition for children with speech-language impairments 

  • Expands significantly the existing speech-language scholarship program to divert additional state funding to private special purpose schools
  • Deletes the requirement that speech be the student’s primary eligibility ruling
  • Private special purpose schools are not held accountable for the quality of education being provided to students, despite being paid for by taxpayer funds
  • Voucher ends in sixth grade; students could find themselves significantly underprepared when they re-enter public schools in the seventh grade

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