School Privatization Bills on a Fast-track Across the Nation

Published by

Toggle the state names below for a summary of some of the bills we are following and actions you can take:

The House Ways and Means Education Committee voted to advance HB487. The bill would allow local tax dollars to follow a child to a charter school. 

Due to overwhelming concern from House members, the bill was pulled from the House schedule and sent back to committee.  

Stay tuned for more information and possible actions on this bill.

From our friends at Save Our Schools Arizona:

ESA voucher mega-expansion bill SB1452 passed the House Ways & Means Committee and may be heard on the House Floor at any time.

Click here to take action in Arizona.

Florida SB 48 aims to merge and expand the multiple voucher programs that already exist into two large programs.

If passed, this bill would also reduce the frequency of audits to detect fraud from every year to once every three years, increase the yearly growth rate of voucher programs, and via ESAs, expand the use of public funds.

Click here to take action in Florida

From the Georgia Coalition for Public Education:

Georgia Senate Bill 47 (Georgia Special Needs Scholarship Program) is a voucher bill that gives scholarships to students with individualized education plans to attend a private school OR a public school of their choice. The bill passed the Georgia Senate by a vote of 30-23 earlier this month and may be considered for a floor vote in the House.

SB47 does not provide any meaningful compliance mechanisms and doesn’t do hardly enough to track student performance. If passed, the bill will surely divert taxpayer dollars to private schools at the expense of Georgia public schools.
Stay tuned for more information and possible actions on this bill.

House Bill 1005 would greatly expand the state’s voucher program allowing families with annual incomes up to $145,000 to participate. That amount is near twice the median income of families in the state and provides taxpayer assistance to families who can already comfortably afford to send their child to a private school. 

Some 12,000 students already attending such schools would be eligible for state funding–costing taxpayers $100 million in the first year alone. In addition, the bill would add a new “Education Savings Accounts,” which would be made available to parents with students with special needs. 

Click here to take action in Indiana

HF813, would allow anyone, including for-profit corporations, to found a charter school. 

Iowa’s existing charter school law, which requires local district authorization, has allowed a limited number of charter schools to open and has prevented out-of-state, for-profit operators from creating charter schools in Iowa.

Making these changes to Iowa’s existing charter school law won’t “promote innovation” or give Iowa’s parents the ability to “choose the best educational options” for their children — it will benefit only those who seek to profit off of our schools. 

Click here to take action in Iowa

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds has proposed SSB 1065, (also known as SF 159) which is being fast-tracked through the state Senate. This “school choice” bill would provide up to $5,200 per student in “state scholarships” for parents to use for private school tuition or homeschooling expenses. 

It would greatly expand charter schools in the state by allowing applicants to start a charter school by going straight to the state board, bypassing the school district. 

It would also allow students to transfer out of their local public schools under a voluntary or court-ordered diversity plan, in a shocking proposal that would allow parents to run from integration. 

According to Senator Pam Jochum, “it will take about $54 million and shift it from public education to private.”

House Bill 2068 and Senate Bill 61 are allegedly designed to expand school vouchers in the state via a tax credit program. They are, at their core, an attempt to create a taxpayer-funded invitation to discriminate. 

According to the Kansas School Boards Association, these bills would allow private schools that discriminate in admissions based on achievement, religion, gender, disability, or sexual preference to participate in the tax-credit program. They would neither be required to be accredited nor report student results. 

Stay tuned for more information and possible actions on this bill.

House Bill 563 creates “education opportunity accounts” to be used on private school tuition in Kentucky’s most populated counties, and would pull up to $25 million from public schools.

The bill passed the House by the narrowest of margins, 48-47, and was vetoed by Governor Beshear. The Senate voted 23-14 to override his veto, and Beshear said the bill may be challenged in court. You can read the latest about the bill here.

Stay tuned for more information.

There is only one intent of Senate Bill 55–to destroy public education in Missouri. 

The bill: 

  • Requires an election to recall a school board member if a petition is submitted signed by at least 25% of the number of voters in the last school board election. 
  •  Creates up to $100 million in tax credits for donations to an organization that gives out scholarships for students to attend a home school or private school – including for-profit virtual schools.
  • Authorizes charter schools to be opened in an additional 61 school districts.

The House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee will hear HB 729 (O’Donnell) on 2/2.  HB 729 is essentially the same as the voucher, charter school expansion and virtual school expansion portions of SCS/SB 55.

Two new voucher bills have been introduced. HB 288 (Christofanelli) and HB 540 (Fitzwater).  HB 288 is a companion bill to SB 23 and the voucher portion of SB 25.  HB 540 is a tax credit style voucher that puts some program administration under the control of the State Treasurer.

To be heard in the House Elementary and Secondary Education committee on February 2:

HB 349 (Christofanelli) tuition tax credits
HB 540 (Fitzwater, Travis) tuition tax credits
HB 729 (O’Donnell) charter school expansion (cities over 30,000) and tuition tax credits

Stay tuned for more information and possible actions on these bills.

HB 633 would establish a charter school program in the state.

Stay tuned for more information and possible actions on this bill.

Nebraska: LB 364 The Opportunity Scholarship Act Establishes “opportunity scholarships” for private and religious school tuition.  Contributions would result in up to a 50% tax credit against State income taxes. Funds from this account would be distributed as tuition aid for students to attend private and religious schools. 

From our friends at Stand for Schools:

We encourage public school supporters to send your thanks to Senators Bostar, Pahls, and Friesen for not supporting this bill, which will devastate our state’s ability to adequately and sustainably fund the schools that serve nine out of every ten kids in Nebraska.

And as this harmful piece of legislation heads to the floor for a full debate, we ask you to please contact your own senator, and urge them to stand strong against LB 364. Nebraska’s public schools depend on it!
Find your senator’s contact information here:
Stay tuned for more information and possible actions on this bill.

AB333 would raise $10 million in public funding for charter school facilities by creating a corporate tax credit program that would allow businesses to donate to charter schools and get the money back based on a tax credit.

Stay tuned for more information and possible actions on this bill.

House Bill 20 would create a universal voucher program entitled “Education Freedom Accounts,” which would take state dollars from monies allocated to support public schools and give them directly to parents to use for private school tuition, homeschooling costs, and other education-related expenses. The per-student amount would range from  $3,786 and $8,458 based on eligibility and costs.

According to the nonprofit, Reaching Higher New Hampshire HB 20, as proposed, would be the most far-reaching voucher bill in the country.

  • HB 20, as proposed, would be the most far-reaching voucher bill in the country.
  • HB 20 has substantially fewer protections for students, less transparency and oversight of public funds, and almost no accountability for ensuring that programs funded by taxpayer dollars are being used appropriately or effectively.

SB 130, which is virtually identical to HB 20, passed by the Senate last week and then was tabled. It is now expected to be folded into the budget, which would make the bill much more difficult to stop.

Stay tuned for more information and possible actions on this bill. 

HB32 would expand the already existing voucher program, the Opportunity Scholarship program, by expanding eligibility, increasing the amount of the voucher, and increasing funding for marketing and administering the program. It would also merge the program with the existing Education Savings Account program, which puts tax dollars on a debit card for parents to spend on private educational services in lieu of attending a public school. It would even allow vendors to charge “transaction or merchant fees” of up to 2.5% of all spending. 

These changes to a program that already diverts millions of dollars away from public schools would add $159 million in additional costs over the next nine years.

SB455 establishes an education savings account program for learning at-home or at any other remote-learning site.

Stay tuned for more information and possible actions on this bill.
Senate Bill 28/House Bill 1348 prohibits local governments from taking any action to stop an open-enrollment charter from opening a school campus, and gives the state’s education commissioner, not the locality, exclusive jurisdiction over the creation and location of charters. In other words, communities are shut out.

The Senate Bill was passed out of committee on 3/31 and sent to the full Senate.

Across the country, conservative state legislators are sponsoring “school choice” bills that would divert public funds to charter schools, online schools, and/or private and religious schools and homeschools.

The 2020 election resulted in gains for Libertarian Republicans in statehouses, who are now aggressively pushing school voucher and charter expansion bills. These bills would have a devastating impact on the funds available to support public schools struggling through the pandemic.

But of course, that is the point. Make no mistake. Those proposing these bills are hostile to both the idea and the ideals of district-run public schools.

Please read and share our fact sheets to educate your community and your legislators about vouchers and other forms of privatization