Finally Good News on the School Voucher Bill, but one more things to do to seal the deal!
Full House Votes on May 3rd! Please send a quick email.
The House Finance Committee voted 14:12 to recommend that the House refer SB193 for interim study. Three Republicans joined with the Dems on the committee supporting moving the bill to interim study.
This is a terrific outcome, and if the House agrees with this recommendation (May 3 vote), the bill will be gone for the rest of this year.
We never would have seen this result without all the pushback from supporters of public education like you! The Finance Committee recommendation will carry significant weight when SB193 is considered on the House floor.
And yet . . . we know that when the full House votes next Thursday (May 3) it will be close! What to do?
Here are two actions you can take. If you can only do one, do the first:
1. Email the whole House: Please send an email to all members of the House, using a single click on this link:
Subject line: The Reps are getting TONS of emails, so be sure to say something in the subject line that lets them know you oppose SB193 and why (just a quick “Don’t raise my taxes with SB193” or something – but make up your own so it doesn’t look canned.) And then the body of your email can be 1 or 2 sentences – no more is needed. Talking points are below.
2. Email a thank you to a few brave souls. If you have time to do one more thing, please send an email to the three Republicans who stood up today and voted with the Democrats to refer the bill to Interim Study. They did this despite the huge amount of pressure they were getting from leadership. I’m sure these last weeks have been very difficult for them, and who knows what repercussions they’ll suffer as a result of voting their conscience instead of following orders. We should thank them for doing what they believed was right. (I don’t know exactly what concerns Reps. Theberge and Byron had, but Rep. Kurk stated outright that though he has supported “choice” in the past, he can’t support this bill because of the huge financial impact on local school districts. You might want to thank him specifically for protecting your local school budget – again, use your own words!)
Talking Points: (Choose one; put it in your own words! One or two sentences is all you need)
1. SB 193 downshifts $100 million in costs to towns/cities in the first 11 years, in ways they can’t make up with cost savings. Property taxes will rise.
2. This bill takes public money and uses it for purposes beyond what the public agreed to, which was to fund public education accessible to all.
3. 5% of the millions of dollars that will be spent on ESAs will go to an out-of-state private scholarship organization with no educational expertise to carry out what are really public functions (including overseeing the use of public money).
4. Supporters say this bill will help students with special needs, but any special needs child who takes a voucher waives his/her right to any special ed services, and many of the religious schools accepting students with vouchers refuse to take students with any but the mildest of disabilities.
5. Now that the legislature must find $38 million for hospitals, it’s even less able to afford the $1,500 per student adjustment grant that the bill requires the General Fund to pay to school districts as partial reimbursement for their loss
6. The bill allows parents to spend public funds on programs and services that aren’t accredited or vetted for quality and that operate with no accountability to taxpayers
7. 7 out of 8 members of the subcommittee (Rs and Ds), who studied the bill in depth for 3 months, considered 5 different amendments, and know it better than anyone, believe this bill is not ready to be voted on. A majority of Finance Committee members agreed.
Thank you so much, we’re so close,
Mary Ann and Christine