The South Carolina Senate is debating a bill that would give some poorer or disabled students money so they could pick a private school or public school outside their district. The bill provides up to $6,000 in state money each year. Along with tuition, the money could also go toward textbooks, materials, education services or equipment for disabled students. The program would be limited to students whose family income is low enough to make them eligible for Medicaid and students with disabilities. The program would be limited to 15,000 students. Opponents say the money could be better spent improving public schools for all.
Leaders in the South Carolina House appear to be pushing their own bill to give poorer parents money to pay tuition at private schools. A House subcommittee approved a bill Tuesday that would create a three-year program to give $5,000 in tuition assistance to 5,000 students whose families are eligible for Medicaid or who have parents in the military. The money can only be spent for tuition fees or books. A Senate subcommittee is considering its own voucher bill, which would allow parents to spend up to about $7,000 of public school money on private schools as well as tutoring, equipment or other needs.