Skip to comments.Information Alert: (Virginia) Senate Committee Kills School Choice Bill
Posted on 02/06/2006 6:08:08 AM PST by Perseverando
Yesterday, the Senate Finance Committee went on record for the first time in its history in opposition to giving parents in Virginia the freedom to choose the most suitable education environment for their children.
In past years, any school choice legislation presented to this committee was killed without a vote. In fact, the bill had never received a motion for any action at all. But yesterday, to the apparent dismay of several Republican members of the committee, Democrats Dick Salsaw (D-35, Springfield) and Janet Howell (D-32, Reston) motioned for the bill to be "Passed by indefinitely" or defeated, forcing a recorded vote.
The committee voted 15-0 to kill the bill.
Senator Steve Martin (R-11, Chesterfield), the bill's patron, made several well-articulated arguments on behalf of his bill. He reasoned that the bill would actually save Virginia taxpayers in the long run by reducing public school enrollment, creating competition and thus ultimately reducing spending. He argued that some public schools simply are not serving children well and that those kids should have other educational options. His bill would have provided a tuition tax credit.
Opposition to the bill included the Virginia Education Association, the Virginia Association of School Boards and the Virginia PTA. Senator Russ Potts (R-27, Winchester) led committee opposition to the bill, labeling the legislation as a "$89 million assault on public schools." Senator Ken Stolle (R-8, Virginia Beach) also noted the initial cost of the program with no recognition of the savings. Despite the incredible infusion of new funds into public education last year as a result of the largest tax hike in Virginia history, opponents to school choice continue to argue that no money exists to offer choice.
Another bill that offers school choice is still awaiting a hearing in the House. HB 1294, patroned by Delegate Chris Saxman (R-20, Staunton), would also provide better education opportunities for many Virginia students by granting all families that choose non-public schools a tax credit to apply toward tuition. Like the Senate bill, HB 1294 also creates a scholarship fund for low income children through funds donated by businesses and individuals receiving a tax credit for such donations.
The Family Foundation's goal is that HB 1294 would pass the House Finance Committee without being watered down. This would allow the full House of Delegates to vote on a substantial school choice measure. Last year, the school choice bill that passed this committee was considerably smaller in scope. While its passage through the House was significant, it only benefited low-income children and would have done nothing to help families that choose home schooling. Given the very limited effect of last year's final version, The Family Foundation has asked the patron not to allow this bill to be narrowed during the process.
We will keep you updates on this bill.
How dare those parents get uppity? It takes a village of educrats to raise a kid, don't you know. (SARCASM OFF)
If it was really "to the dismay of several Republicans on the committee", why was the vote 15-0?
They were dismayed because they had to go on record this time.
it's time for taxpayer to start voting against "representatives" that support the unions and school bureacracy instead of the their constituents.
***it's time for taxpayer to start voting against "representatives" that support the unions and school bureacracy instead of the their constituents.***
I like your thinking, but the unions, including the NEA, pour mounds of cash into the pols' re-election funds.
I heard that Potts threw a hissy fit at one of the committee hearings on this bill. Thank you Rinos one and all for allowing Floyd the Barber to remain as chairman AND a Republican.
That's really funny.