Thursday, March 13, 2008

New life for school-choice bill

Today the state Senate voted in favor of a tax credit for private-school scholarship programs. State Sen. James A. Williamson (R-Tulsa) successfully attached his amendment creating the New Hope Scholarship Program (formerly the Great Schools Tax Credit Program) to SB 1556, which passed the Senate by a vote of 30 to 18. The amendment provides a tax credit for taxpayers who contribute to organizations that provide scholarships for low-income children to attend an elementary or secondary private school in a county with a population of more than 450,000.

State Sen. Kenneth Corn (D-OEA) voted against Williamson's measure, saying "cherry-picking a handful of students and pulling resources out of public education does nothing to fix the main problem." Cherry-picking? The students at issue here are those trapped in the worst inner-city schools in Oklahoma! Sen. Corn further argues that the money for tax credits will reduce the amount of money available for public schools. Of course, OCPA has already demonstrated that, to the contrary, per-pupil expenditures would increase under Williamson's plan. For his edification, I e-mailed Sen. Corn a copy of our spreadsheet which demonstrates this quite clearly.

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