Richmond, Va. -- This morning, the Virginia Senate Education and Health Committee voted along party lines to report and re-refer to Senate Finance Delegate Dave LaRock's (R-Loudoun) HB 389. The bill would re-route existing state education spending into so-called education savings accounts for certain students with disabilities who opt out of public schooling. Those dollars could be spent on educational expenses, including tuition at private and religious schools, depleting public schools resources.

Said Senator Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax City), "Our public schools have spent years developing programs and training staff to best support our children with special needs. This proposal chips away at that. When you start to disaggregate the programs we’ve spent putting together, you take a step back from the level of success and the quality of support that we are giving to these students."

Said Senator Louise Lucas (D-Portsmouth), "There is a very concerning lack of accountability in this measure. It gives parents the ability to take their children out of school in exchange for a check with no quality control and no way to make sure these children are getting the best education possible. In some localities, that loss of funding could result in the loss of teaching staff. That is not a tradeoff what we should be making."

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