The ill-timed and ill-purposed bill that Sen. Ralph Hise filed on Tuesday intends to remove all income requirements for obtaining a voucher to use in attending private schools in NC.
A senate bill filed Tuesday would remove income eligibility requirements for the state’s so-called “Opportunity Scholarships” created to help low-income families pay private school tuition.
Senate Bill 711 was filed by Sen. Ralph Hise, a Mitchell County Republican. Sen. Bob Steinburg, a Republican from Edenton and Sen. Norman W. Sanderson, a Republican from Pamlico County, are co-sponsors.
Wasn’t the Opportunity Grant program specifically for low-income families in North Carolina?
So, some questions for Sen. Hise. Why change it so any family can use the Opportunity Grant? Is it so that wealthy people can get money as well to send their kids to private schools? Is it to get more tax-payer money into unregulated religious schools? Is it to somehow make sure that all of the money that was never used in the past because it was over-funded in the first place now gets used? Is it just to promote an ALEC / Koch brothers agenda?
And why present this bill now? Some people believe it is just another play from the Phil Berger manual of politics: ask for something so outrageously and blatantly harmful to public schools that will never pass in its original form to force a “compromise” that ultimately still moves the needle toward privatization.
But one thing this bill does show – this program wasn’t really about helping low-income students, but about the appearance of helping out low-income students.