Senate Republicans Vote to Use Taxpayer Dollars to Fund Private Schools

Senate Bill 131 “is a direct attack on public education, make no mistake about it,” said Senator Henry Marsh

Today, Republican senators voted to pass Senate Bill 131, which takes Virginia backwards by setting aside up to $25 million taxpayer dollars to provide tax credits for businesses that donate money to private schools at a time when public schools are crying out for additional state support.

Senator David Marsden (D-Burke) said, “Money is not going to be saved by taking a few children out of the public schools and sending them to private schools. The cost of public schools — the administrators, the teachers and the overhead — are all still there. We would be taking $25 million from the general fund, which we use for education. This is an unfocused, ill-advised way to go, and I urge you to vote against the bill.”

 “I think that if we are interesting in the improvement of education of impoverished children, then we should put the money into the public schools that serve the majority of these children. At a time when schools are struggling, we be increasing their funding — not sending taxpayer dollars to private schools,” said Senator Maime Locke (D-Hampton).

Senator John S. Edwards (D-Roanoke City) said, “This is not about scholarships. Senate Bill 131 is a tax credit, which is a giveaway that sends taxpayers money where taxpayers do not want their money to go. Every school district is screaming for funding from this commonwealth. This bill takes money that could go to public schools and gives it to private schools.”

Senator Henry Marsh (D-Richmond) said, “This is a war against K-12 education, and if this bill passes it will usher in a rapid decline in public education. This is direct attack on public education, make no mistake about it.”

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