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SB 0087 - Vouchers for foster children, 504 students, and children of military

Tracking Level: High
Sponsor: Rogers,Chip 21st
Last Action: 3/7/2012 - Senate Tabled
Senate Committee: ED&Y

Staff Analysis of the Legislation

SB 87, Rogers – 21   OPPOSE

Creates a voucher for students who are foster children, subject to Section 504 of the federal ESEA, or are children of active military.  They may attend any school of their choice, public or private, sectarian or non sectarian, for as long as they choose.  The schools must be accredited but there are no other accountability requirements for the schools.  The schools do not have to teach the GA curriculum, need not hire certified teachers degreed in the subject matter they are teaching, and do not have to test the students with the state required tests.  Students must be enrolled in the public school for one year and are funded in subsequent years at the level they were funded in the year they were in public school.  Amends the special needs voucher law passed three years ago.  There is no way of knowing how many students would be eligible or what the costs would be to public schools or to the students who remain in public school.  DOE is opposed to this bill until all students, public and private, can have a common accountability system.  The GA constitution bans the use of public money for sectarian purposes and it prohibits the expenditure of funds to any individual for any reason other than a fee for goods or services.  PTA fails to see how either of those constitutional restraints is met with this legislation.  PTA opposes school vouchers to non public entities. PTA has no opposition to public school choice.  

Bill Summary from the State Site - Click for the State Summary Page / Click for Current Full Text