N.C. Senate Passes School Choice Expansion | Beaufort County Now | Vote sets up a potential compromise version with the House

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
Publisher's Note: This post appears here courtesy of the Carolina Journal. The author of this post is David N. Bass.

The N.C. Senate, in session Monday, March 1. | Photo: Maya Reagan / Carolina Journal

    The N.C. Senate has passed its own version of a school-choice expansion bill that would open the state's three choice programs to even more low- and middle-income households and families of students with special needs.

    Senate Bill 671 passed largely along party lines in a 29-20 vote on Tuesday, May 4. Sen. Kirk deViere from Cumberland County was the lone Democrat to vote in favor of the bill. Cumberland County has the largest number of students on Opportunity Scholarships in the state, followed by Mecklenburg and Wake counties.

    "School choice shouldn't be a privilege reserved only for the wealthy," said Sen. Amy Galey, R-Alamance, one of the bill's primary sponsors. "All children, regardless of their financial circumstances, deserve the opportunity to attend the school that's best for them. The same activists who supported school closures and claim to care about 'equity' turn their backs on families searching for the school setting where their child would thrive. They oppose giving lower-income families the same access to educational choice that others enjoy."

    S.B. 671 increases the value of the Opportunity Scholarship Program from up to $4,200 in tuition support for private schools annually to around $5,800. It would also open the scholarship to more families by raising the income threshold needed to quality.

    In addition to expanding the Opportunity Scholarship Program, S.B. 671 would combine the Children with Disabilities Grant Program and Education Savings Account into one program to ensure adequate funding and reduce wait lists. Both of those programs are designed to help students with special needs access a better learning environment.

    In April, the House passed its own school-choice expansion package, setting the stage for a possible compromise version in a joint committee between House and Senate members. Provisions of the school-choice expansion bill could also end up in the new budget passed by the General Assembly.

    Sen. Natasha Marcus, D-Mecklenburg, spoke against the bill during debate on the Senate floor. "Public money definitely should not go to private schools that discriminate based on disability, religion, sexuality, gender identity, and more. And yet that's what this bill is doing and it's wrong," said Marcus, referring to an ongoing lawsuit filed by the N.C. Association of Educators, the state arm of the national teacher's union.

    "Many of the advantages listed in this bill can be done adequately and taken care of adequately in our public schools," said Sen. Joyce Waddell, D-Mecklenburg.

    Sen. Mike Lee, a Republican from New Hanover County, countered that education dollars should go to students, not institutions.

    "I've heard it said that we're siphoning money from the public schools," said Lee. "I think money should go to children for their education. The parents should be the ones to determine what is in the best interests of their children."
Go Back


Latest Op-Ed & Politics

On Friday, famed actor James Woods, an outspoken conservative, which makes him an anomaly in the vast leftism of Hollywood, tweeted a photo of a rib-eye steak with its exorbitant price and added one rapidly mushrooming meme.
Last week, the Martin Center reported on the UNC system’s mandated move to Raleigh in 2022. Now, members of the UNC Board of Governors are questioning the speed and the process behind the decision.
State Controller Linda Combs is going to court to block a recent ruling in the long-running Leandro school funding case.
Next week we are entering the most critical time of any election. Registration to run in the November 2022 elections begins tomorrow, Monday December 6 at 12:00 Noon and ends Friday December 17 at 12:00 Noon.
Former “Today” show contributor and “Access Hollywood” host Billy Bush blasted NBC on Friday, the fifth anniversary of the day he was fired for a recorded private conversation he had with then-Presidential candidate Donald Trump when Trump was a guest on “Access Hollywood.”
oday, Governor Roy Cooper and Attorney General Josh Stein filed an amicus brief in the North Carolina Supreme Court that urges the Court to quickly hear and decide two cases that challenge the constitutionality of congressional and state legislative districts enacted by the Republican members.


President Biden is no different from the rest of us. He’s living his life, browsing in a store over a holiday weekend.
To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms and be taught how to use them.
On Monday, a Virginia juvenile court essentially found a 15-year-old guilty (the word “guilty” is not used in juvenile court) of sexually assaulting a fellow classmate in a girls’ bathroom at a high school in Loudoun County, Virginia.
Supreme Court stops legislative, Congressional filing
Face it. Everyone has someone on their list for whom it is difficult to shop. What do they like? Is it the right color or size? Do they already have it?


If the state Supreme Court decides to remove two Republican justices from hearing a high-profile case involving voter ID, the court also should remove Democratic Justice Anita Earls. That’s according to a new motion filed Wednesday in the case.


Back to Top