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The 2018-2019 State budget , currently under consideration by the General Assembly is on the minds of many school districts throughout the State. Will there be enough money for academic programs, and how will the money be allocated? Will property taxes be affected? In pondering these questions, it might be helpful to look at the education legislation that the General Assembly had considered during the past 12 months. Over the past year, some horrible education bills have passed either one or both houses of the General Assembly. Here is a summary.

HB 97: This bill is allegedly designed to update and improve existing charter school laws, but in reality, it would most likely increase the number of charter schools, while providing less oversight to existing charters.

HB 178: This bill would have (1) placed an additional $10 million into the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program, a voucher-like program benefitting religious schools and providing lax oversight of the schools within the program; (2) facilitated the expansion of charter schools; and (3) expanded the reasons for furloughing teachers through rather vague language.

HB 250: This bill would have increased the Educational Improvement Tax Credit program by $20 million, which would allow businesses to take a 75-90% tax write-off on money that they contribute to educational scholarships for private schools – even religious schools. These schools may refuse to admit students, and do not need to be held to any standards of accountability.

SB 383, a bill permitting school personnel to carry concealed, loaded firearms in our children’s public schools.

Want to know how your legislator voted.  Click here.  Check out the scores for your representative and senator.  The higher the score, the more progressive s/he is on educational issues.  The highest score is a “3.”

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