School voucher program gets 62 percent increase in tax money | Arkansas Blog

Friday, March 24, 2017

School voucher program gets 62 percent increase in tax money

Posted By on Fri, Mar 24, 2017 at 12:36 PM

click to enlarge MISSION LEAP: Amendment from Sen. Bart Hester expands private school voucher appropriation by 60 percent. - BRIAN CHILSON
  • Brian Chilson
  • MISSION LEAP: Amendment from Sen. Bart Hester expands private school voucher appropriation by 60 percent.
Rep. Kim Hammer, who's been pushing a school voucher bill for foster children under a program nominally intended only for children with special education needs, got some pushback in committee this week from Sen. Joyce Elliott on "mission creep," or finding ways to expand vouchers.

Hammer's bill allows 20 foster children, even without an individualized education program to address a particular disability or problem, to get state money to go to a private school.

This is an expansion of the Success Scholarship program that supposedly had a 100-student cap on students with IEPs who could get a private school voucher payment worth $6,646 this school year to go to a private school. The bill actually has no student cap, other than the amount appropriated for the program, put at $800,000 when we wrote about the bill coming of the Senate Education Committee on Wednesday.

But wait. An amendment was added to the Education Department appropriation bill by Sen. Bart Hester that raised the appropriation by a whopping 62 percent, to $1.3 million. By Thursday, the day after committee approval of the foster child vouchers, the larger amount was engrossed in the legislation.

This raises the number of children who can get private school vouchers to almost 200 . Mission creep? How about mission leap?

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