North Carolina Opportunity Scholarship Program was created in 2013 for the stated purpose of helping low-income families send children to private schools and religious schools. This year's budget passed by the legislature puts an extra $56 million into the scholarship reserve fund.
Sen. Amy Galey, a Republican from Alamance County, who supported the bill said:
School choice shouldn’t be a privilege reserved only for the wealthy. All children, regardless of their financial circumstances, deserve the opportunity to attend the school that’s best for them.
Democrat lawmakers objected vehemently to the bill and disagreed with the use of public tax dollars to put towards private school education. Rep. Rachel Hunt, a Mecklenburg County Democrat, said:
When we come up next year with a huge depletion of teachers and our children do not have teachers in their classrooms, I want us to think about how we chose not to spend the money on those issues, and we instead spent more money on a program that is not being used completely.
If the Governor signs the bill into law, funding for the scholarship program would grow from $120.54 million to $176.54 million for the 2023-2024 school year and reach $311.54 million per year for later years.
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