Virginia Is Considering 4 Different School Choice Bills
Republican Glenn Youngkin won the race to be Virginia’s governor in 2021 largely by appealing to parents who wanted more control over their children’s schooling. On the campaign trail, Youngkin touted school choice programs like vouchers for educational expenses. Now, as if to make good on his promise, there are at least four school choice bills before the Virginia General Assembly.
H.B. 1508 would establish the “Virginia Education Success Account Program.” Virginia currently spends around $5,000 per student on K-12 education. Under H.B. 1508, parents of children currently enrolled or starting in public schools could receive a portion of that amount deposited into a savings account to use toward education expenses, including tuition or books in a nonpublic school, tutoring services, or test prep services. Del. Glenn Davis (R–Virginia Beach), the bill’s sponsor, said “Too many students are trapped in schools that are failing them, especially in our historically black communities…. This bill allows parents to choose the educational experience best suited for their child.” The bill also has the support of Lt. Gov. Winsome Earle-Sears.
Three other similar bills have also been proposed in the current session: H.B. 1371, S.B. 823, and H.B. 1396 would each create some form of an educational savings account program. The bills vary in eligibility: Under S.B. 823, families earning up to 300 percent of the federal poverty line would qualify, whereas H.B. 1396 would apply for families earning up to 1,000 percent of the free lunch standards or 1,200 percent for families of a child with disabilities. H.B. 1371 contains no limits based on income, and any Virginia residents whose children are eligible to enroll in public school can apply.
Article from Reason.com