North Carolina will take a large step backwards in public school progress if the General Assembly approves HB 1104, Scholarship Funding Corporate Tax Credit. This bill would provide tax credits to corporations if they make donations to fund scholarships for school-age children to attend private schools. As a result, North Carolina loses revenue needed to support public schools. These funds will be used to pay tuition at private schools that do not meet any public accountability standards, and we miss an opportunity to make a difference in student learning.
If we really want to improve learning, let’s have our business community support public schools by giving funds and other resources to provide extended learning opportunities to needy public school students in kindergarten through thirdgrade. Research shows us that many of these vulnerable students lose up to three months of reading progress during the long summer break. These students are the ones who could most benefit from additional learning time and support.
Footing the bill for private school tuition for some would do little to nothing forthese students, but extending their learning can make all the difference.
Public schools benefit all North Carolinians, and that’s where our tax revenues for education should go. Public schools should not be starved for basic resources. That’s why lawmakers should eliminate the $429 million discretionary reduction from public school budgets. If our state wants to go above and beyond that goal, directing resources to our most vulnerable students would be a good place to start.