Skip to comments.D.C. School-Voucher Plan Bogs Down (Landrieu - Louisiana RAT - makes demands)
Posted on 09/29/2003 6:21:00 PM PDT by Libloather
D.C. School-Voucher Plan Bogs Down
Thu Sep 25, 8:02 PM ET
By BEN FELLER, AP Education Writer
WASHINGTON - Legislation creating an experimental private-school voucher plan bogged down Thursday in the Senate after a proposed compromise fell flat.
The measure would provide $13 million for at least 1,700 poor children in the District of Columbia to get a private education, provided they are accepted by a school and can pay any expenses not covered by the maximum $7,500 voucher a year.
Republicans, who hold a slim majority in the Senate, are trying to secure at least 60 votes to overcome a possible Democratic filibuster.
The voucher plan is part of the district's budget bill for the fiscal year that begins Wednesday. The bill is not scheduled to come to a final vote until next week.
Two Democrats, Sens. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Thomas Carper of Delaware, offered to support the bill if several conditions were added, but said GOP leader rejected the terms. They included limiting the vouchers to students in failing schools; requiring that schools accept voucher students without charging extra tuition; and ensuring that the schools show the same yearly progress as required for public schools under new federal law.
It was not clear that Republicans would have the votes needed even if the deal had come together.
The Senate did approve an amendment by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., that would require voucher students to take the same tests as public school students and would require their teachers to have a college degree, among other changes.
The voucher plan has recharged the debate over school choice. Never before has Congress approved private-school vouchers. Supporters hope a successful experiment in Washington would raise support for vouchers elsewhere.
The House, by a single vote, approved its own voucher plan for the district this month. The Bush administration backs vouchers and is lobbying for them.
That's what it will take, IMO.