North Carolina Legislators show an ongoing commitment to educational choice
INDIANAPOLIS—EdChoice, a national nonprofit organization that promotes state-based educational choice programs, commends the state of North Carolina for embracing educational opportunity and expanding the existing state’s school choice programs.
Earlier this month, lawmakers in both legislative chambers approved the state budget by a vote of 104-10 in the House and 40-8 in the Senate. The budget includes an expansion of the Opportunity Scholarship Program and combines both the Personal Education Savings and Special Education Grant Programs. Gov. Roy Cooper signed the legislation today.
“We are excited about the continued dedication to educational choice from leaders in the North Carolina General Assembly. In these trying times, it is wonderful to see advancements that provide students with much needed educational resources. This is truly a tremendous win for our state and great news for families and students in our state who are demanding equal access to the school of their choice,” said Brian Jodice, Vice President at Parents for Educational Choice in North Carolina.
Under the expansion, the Opportunity Scholarship (OSP) voucher value will increase from $4,200 per year to 90 percent of the average per pupil state K-12 allocation based on the prior fiscal year. This is projected to be an estimated average of $5,850 per year. Additionally, student eligibility has expanded from 150 percent to 175 percent of the family household income required to qualify for the federal free or reduced-price lunch program.
The state budget also combines both the Disability Scholarship Grant and Personal Education Savings Account to create the Personal Education Student Account for Children with Disabilities Program. This new program’s award will include the state allocation for children with disabilities plus 85 percent of the average state per pupil allocation. Additionally, students with certain disabilities such as autism, hearing impairment or visual impairment can qualify for aid up to $17,000 per student.
“This expansion signals North Carolina’s continued commitment to empowering students and families by giving low- and middle-income families the freedom to customize their children’s education. This ensures the Tar Heel State will continue to lead the way for educational choice,” said Robert Enlow, President and CEO of EdChoice.
EdChoice has worked with state partners in North Carolina since 2005, helping train parent advocates and educate policymakers on the benefits of choice.