On Friday evening, the House Appropriations – Elementary & Secondary Education committee rejected the opportunity to get our schools open and our students back to in school learning. On a party-line vote, the Democrat majority rejected HB 273 which would have provided parents with the financial resources to move their children from a closed school to an open school if they so choose.
The legislation is sponsored by State Representative Blaine Wilhour (R-Beecher City) and recommended for passage by State Representative Dan Caulkins (R-Decatur) would have allowed for State funding to follow the students who want to move to a school that is providing full-time in school instruction.
According to Rep. Caulkins, “This bill would have given parents another lever to get our schools open. Every health and education expert agrees that there is no substitute for our children being in the classroom and that opening all schools for full-time instruction is past due. I’m very disappointed by the Democrats on this committee who have chosen to place their allegiances with groups who oppose this rather than with the children who are locked out of their school. The people who are most impacted are single-parent families and those who are living in underserved areas of our state. To those families, I promise you, we will continue to advocate for you in the General Assembly.”
House Bill 273 provides for a voucher system in which the State Board of Education shall provide vouchers to the parent or guardian of a student who chooses to enroll the student in a non-public school or homeschool setting if the school district in which the student is enrolled does not offer full-time, in person instruction in a given school year. In addition, provides that vouchers shall be in the amount of per pupil funding to the district for Evidence-Based Funding and any special education dollars allocated to the district for the particular student, if applicable.