BRIEF: School Choice in the States July 2015


The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice launched its new look and a new and improved website on July 31 to celebrate Friedman Legacy Day 2015. Check out our president and CEO’s musings on free markets, innovation, and Milton Friedman here.


Colorado – Brittany Corona @BrittanyLCorona

Friedman Foundation State Programs and Government Relations Director Brittany Corona appeared on Colorado Public Television to discuss educational choice in America. Watch the interview from the Independence Institute’s Devil’s Advocate program here.


Mississippi – Brittany Corona @BrittanyLCorona

On July 1, the Mississippi Department of Education (DOE) began accepting applications for the Equal Opportunity for Students with Special Needs Program, the Magnolia state’s education savings account (ESA) program. Students with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) are eligible to receive an ESA loaded with up to 80 percent of the state per-pupil funds that would have been spent to educate them in their district-assigned public schools. Families can use those ESA funds to pay for a variety of educational tools and services. The Mississippi DOE will deposit funds into an eligible student’s account as a reimbursement for approved expenses. Only 500 students may participate in the program during the 2015–16 school year.


Nevada – Michael Chartier @mchart1

The Nevada state treasurer’s office began accepting ESA program applications on July 31. Additionally, the Department of Education has approved the first five scholarship granting organizations (SGOs) for the state’s new tax-credit scholarship program, and the SGOs will begin accepting donations.


North CarolinaLeslie Hiner @LeslieHiner

Children using vouchers in North Carolina experienced victory on July 23 when the state’s Supreme Court ruled vouchers constitutional. (Hart v. North Carolina, and Richardson v. North Carolina) “The Supreme Court held that the North Carolina constitution ‘specifically envisions that children in our state may be educated by means outside of the public school system,’” according to the Institute for Justice, who intervened in this case on behalf of parents and students. Indeed, the Court recognized that not only do the North Carolina families receiving scholarships benefit from school vouchers, but also the “ultimate beneficiary” is the citizenry of North Carolina.


OhioLeslie Hiner @LeslieHiner

Children in the Buckeye State will benefit from an increase in voucher funding, thanks to the state budget signed into law by Gov. John Kasich on June 30. Funding for the EdChoice Scholarship Program (grades K–8) and the Income-Based Scholarship Program will be increased to $4,650 each year. The EdChoice Scholarship amount for high school is increased to $5,900 for 2015–2016, and $6,000 for 2016–2017. The funding cap on vouchers for children with special needs will also be raised to $27,000.


WisconsinLeslie Hiner @LeslieHiner

The state budget signed by Gov. Scott Walker on July 1 expands Wisconsin’s statewide vouchers. The enrollment cap will increase by 1 percent each year for 10 years; then, the cap will be lifted. Also, his signature created a new statewide voucher program for children with special needs who have been rejected from attending at least one school through open enrollment. This voucher program will launch in the 2016–2017 school year.