Popularity of educational choice is growing in Georgia

By Kimberly Sawatka
In case you missed it earlier this week, the Georgia Department of Revenue announced on Monday that the state’s tax credit program reached its $58 million donation cap in a matter of hours.
This is the second year in a row the program has reached its designated limit in the first day. Many see this as a sign of popularity for the program, and a building of loyal supporters for school choice options.
The scholarship tax credit was enacted in 2008 and has grown in popularity ever since. The program allows individuals a dollar-for-dollar tax credit up to $1,000 and $2,500 for couples, while businesses receive up to 75 percent of their income tax liability. However, due to the giant influx of $108.7 million that poured into the program in the first day, the department of revenue is only allowing taxpayers 53 percent of their application contributions.
Georgia’s education statistics for graduation rates have improved in the last in five years, but they still leave a lot to be desired. The state’s legislature also reconvened this week for their 2016 session. Lawmakers are considering additional educational choice program expansions and a possible Education Savings Account program.
In his “State of the State Address” on Wednesday, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal stated, “The education of Georgia’s children is too important to be held hostage to a status quo that may feel comfortable to certain adults, but is a disservice to our students. The method whereby we educate our children must be as modern and adaptive to the changes in the world as our cell phones, our computers, our televisions and our automobiles. If it is not, our children will stumble and fall when they step onto the escalator of life outside the schoolhouse door.”
In two weeks, 2,000 parents, teachers, students and community leaders are expected to gather just outside of the state’s capitol building during National School Choice Week to celebrate school choice and encourage lawmakers to expand the state’s repertoire of educational options.

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