Georgia House passes bill to expand state’s school choice program
The American Federation for Children applauds the Georgia House after passing legislation to raise the donation cap for the state’s tax credit scholarship program with a bipartisan majority. The bill would raise the program’s cap from $58 million to $65 million next year and then raise it an additional 10% every year after up to a total of $100 million, so long as the cap has been reached. The measure passed 111-62.
“Today, Georgia House members showed their commitment to giving every child – no matter their family’s income – a choice and access to a quality education,” said Kevin P. Chavous, board member of the American Federation for Children. “Demand for scholarships as well as charitable giving for the scholarship program has remained high and this legislation takes steps to get closer to meeting this demand.”
The Georgia Scholarship Tax Credit program, enacted in 2008, allows individuals and corporations to donate to nonprofit organizations that administer K-12 scholarships to students from low-income families to attend the private school of their choice. The program currently serves over 13,000 students.
The current $58 million cap is reached the very first day the donation period opens and applications for credits in 2017 totaled $118 million. Most Student Scholarship Organizations (SSOs) also have waiting lists of students looking to receive a scholarship and attend the school of their choice.
“AFC would like to thank Rep. Ed Setzler (R), Rep. Valencia Stovall (D), Rep. Jay Powell (R), Rep. Wes Cantrell (R) and bill sponsor Rep. John Carson (R) for their leadership in support of this legislation,” added Chavous.
In addition to raising the cap, the bill also adds measures to increase SSO transparency and accountability through additional reporting.
The bill now goes on to the state Senate for a vote.