Issues 2016: School Vouchers

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School Vouchers
House Bill 1213, House Bill 1343, House Bill 453, Senate Bill 706: OPPOSE

Against the backdrop of structurally underfunding the state’s public schools, incredibly, a number of bills have been introduced this year to waste tax dollars by giving them to private schools instead.

House Bill 1213 proposes that corporations be allowed to purchase tax credits by making a contribution to the bill’s proposed BOOST fund. BOOST (Broadening Options and Opportunities for Students and Teachers) if passed, will provide scholarships to eligible students. The bill allows corporations to purchase tax credits of not less than $500,000. While the bill is intended to attract financial contributions to be used for educational scholarships, this bill essentially takes money from the state’s coffers by returning a significant portion of the contribution to tax credit purchasers. Essentially, the purchaser of the tax credit receives a return in the form of reduced taxes for the contribution.

It would seem that the state could accomplish the same end, without granting tax credits, simply by applying the taxes collected from corporations directly to public education.

Senate Bill 706, House Bill 453, and House Bill 1343, each called “The Maryland Education Credit,” proposes that tax credits be given to “student assistance organizations,” that is, business entities that make monetary contributions to “eligible schools.” Eligible schools include public kindergarten programs, public elementary schools, or secondary public schools. Eligible schools also include nonpublic prekindergarten, elementary, and secondary schools. A student assistance organization is further defined as an entity that “provides innovative programs to public school students or grants to public schools to support innovative educational programs which are not part of the regular academic program of an eligible school, but that enhance the curriculum, or academic program of an eligible school. The bill proposes providing financial assistance to students attending such eligible nonpublic schools.

AFT-Maryland considers these bill to be nothing more than another attempt to divert money from public schools to nonpublic schools.

AFT-Maryland opposes Senate Bill 706, House Bill 453, and
House Bill 1343.

 

 

AFT-Maryland Legislative Issues 2016
For more information, contact Terence Cooper, Director of Legislative Affairs, AFT-Maryland, tcooper@aftmd.org, or Todd Reynolds, Political Coordinator, treynolds@aftmd.org.