GAE Opposed to Bill To Expand Taxpayer-Paid Private School Tuition

For Immediate Release
 March 4, 2020

ATLANTA -- A bill to expand significantly a state program that provides taxpayer-paid tuition to private schools was the subject of a tense hearing this morning.  The bill passed out of committee after almost two hours of debate and testimony by a 6-4 vote.

Joe Fleming, lobbyist for the Georgia Association of Educators (GAE), testified: “GAE stands on principle in opposing voucher bills because state taxpayer money should not be taken away from public schools to pay for private school tuition.”

Almost $34 million tax dollars flow into private schools each year, most commonly benefiting a year is the children of wealthy families.  Vouchers rarely cover anywhere near the costs of many private schools, some with annual tuition of $35,000, $40,000 and higher.

According to Charlotte Booker, GAE President, “The current existing voucher amounts to about $6,000 a year.  This is one of the reasons why private-school, taxpayer-funded subsidies are most commonly used by high-income families as they can afford to pay the balance for private school tuition whereas, low-income and working families cannot.

”The voucher bill approved extends eligibility to students with “504 plans” under the 1973 federal Rehabilitation Act - Accommodations for 504 students.  Many 504 plans are temporary.

Nonetheless, once students qualify and are admitted to the private school voucher plan, the state-paid subsidy stays with them for the reminder of their education - even after a temporary disability has been resolved.

GAE is adamantly opposed to legislation of this type and will be asking legislators to defeat it and any like legislation.