Last week was a relatively quiet week for bills that might have an impact on non-public schools. The House education committee heard two bills, one dealing with regulations around sudden cardiac arrest, and another bill dealing home school diplomas.
The Senate held its second meeting of the session, voting one bill – dealing with virtual education funding – out of committee unanimously. This dealt with public schools but could possibly have an indirect impact on Choice schools somewhere down the road.
We believe that all authored bills have now dropped and have been made public. INPEA has 62 bills on our watch list. Two bills of note are school choice expansion bills: HB 1005 includes a variety of expansions as well as proposing a new education savings account program (or ESA). SB 412, authored by Senator Buchanan, proposes a similar education savings account program.
HB 1005 proposes raising the financial eligibility to 225% of free and reduced lunch in year one of the budget, and 300% in year two of the budget. It also proposes having only a single tier voucher program at 90% of the ADM. And finally, it includes both the sibling and foster child fixes, something we have been working on for the past few years.
Both HB1005 and SB 412 propose a new ESA for students with special needs or foster children. HB 1005 also includes a provision for military families. Like with a voucher, if a family chooses not to send their children to public schools, a portion of state funding would go into a family’s ESA to be used for tuition and/or a variety of other education-related services. There is also no financial eligibility to participate in the ESAs.
Take a quick listen to our the newest episode of our Statehouse Express podcast recapping the legislation that has been introduced so far in both the House and Senate and what our outlook is. We also talk a little about the PPP and EANS COVID relief funding for schools.
LISTEN to the STATEHOUSE EXPRESS Podcast here!