NC House bill would allow school tax credits

Posted February 9, 2011 7:00 p.m. EST
Updated February 9, 2011 7:12 p.m. EST

— North Carolina House Republicans introduced a bill this week that would help cover private school tuition for some children.

House Bill 41, as it is now, would allow for a tax credit up to $3,500 per year per student for qualifying families with a household income under $100,000 and a student that has been enrolled in a public school for at least a year.

State education leaders have said a tuition tax credit to home school or enroll children in private schools would devastate the public school system.

“I’m surprised such educated people would say such things without apparently reading the bill,” said the bill’s co-sponsor, House Majority Leader Paul Stam.

“They call it vouchers. There’s not a voucher in it,” Stam, R-Wake, said. “They say it takes money from public schools. It doesn’t.”

The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction says students are funded at nearly $8,450 each. The proposed tax credit of up to $3,500 would be a difference of $4,950.

“It saves money, which would be available for public school funding,” Stam said.

Rep. Rick Glazier, D-Cumberland, and other Democrats say that it is not the public’s responsibility to provide private school choices for parents.

“The biggest problem with this bill is (that) it devalues public education,” Glazier said. “This is a bill frankly carried out to its logical conclusion will re-segregate the public schools, in my opinion, and create extraordinary costs – not only in the school system but society, and that's the bigger issue here.”

The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Education for review and could undergo some revisions before it goes to the House floor for a vote.