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Georgia Legislature Proposes New School Voucher Program

The Georgia legislature is considering two bills that would create the state’s third private school voucher program. If approved, Senate Bill 173 and House Bill 301 would both establish a voucher program referred to as an education savings account. The bills carry a steep cost. An analysis of HB 301 concluded the price tag would be over $500 million by 2029. The voucher program proposed in SB 173 has a similar design and would likely have the same cost.

 

These bills divert funds from public schools to private schools. They could compound the financial challenges districts already face due to:

 

  • Lack of inflation adjustment in state funding for public schools
  • Shrinking state funding for student transportation
  • Elimination of state funding for health insurance for bus drivers, custodians and other non-teaching staff

 

Voucher programs do not serve students well. Recent analyses of voucher programs in Indiana, Ohio and Washington DC found a decline in achievement among voucher students.

 

No evaluation has been done of Georgia’s existing $100 million tax credit program. Little is known about the program including how many students participate, the private schools they attend, the school district they reside in or how they do academically.   

 

The Clarke County School Board opposes private school voucher programs as outlined in its 2019 legislative agenda. Concerned parents and citizens can discuss these issues with their legislators.

 

You can contact your legislators using the information below:

 

Senator Bill Cowsert

District 46

 

Capitol Office

121- F State Capitol

Atlanta, GA 30334

Phone: (404) 463-1366

 

District Information

P.O. Box 512

Athens, GA 30603

Phone: (706) 543-7700

bill.cowsert@senate.ga.gov

 

Senator Frank Ginn

District 47

Capitol Office

121-I State Capitol

Atlanta, GA 30334

Phone: (404) 656-4700

 

District Information

P.O. Box 1136

Danielsville, GA 30633

Phone: (706) 680-4466

frank.ginn@senate.ga.gov

 

Representative Houston Gaines

District 117

District Address

P.O. Box 1203

Athens, GA 30603

Phone:  (706) 424-9897

houston@houstongaines.com

Marcus A. Wiedower

R - Watkinsville

District 119

District Address

P.O. Box 623

Watkinsville, GA 3067

Phone:  (706) 254-3251

mwiedower@gmail.com

 

Spencer Frye

D - Athens

District 118

Capitol Address

604-B Coverdell Legislative Office Bldg.

18 Capitol Square SW

Atlanta, GA 30334

404.656.0265 - Office

District Address

P.O. Box 8101

Athens, GA 30603

Phone:  706-254-1679

spencerfrye@gmail.com