South Carolina Senate Panel Advances Private School Choice Bill

Judy Hartnett's picture
Thursday, May 10, 2012

A bill giving tax breaks to parents who send their children to private school or educate them at home advanced Wednesday in the Senate, despite a panel’s 3-2 vote against it.

A Senate subcommittee sent the measure to full Senate Finance with no recommendation. Chairman Wes Hayes said the bill deserves more discussion, though he’s “still wrestling” philosophically with the idea of using public money to subsidize private and home schools.

Sen. Larry Grooms, an adamant supporter, said the bill gives parents more options. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to help families in South Carolina give their children the kind of education they want them to have,” said Grooms, R-Bonneau.

Supporters of the idea scored their first win on the House floor in March, when the chamber voted 65-49 on what supporters called a home-grown version of a long-divisive issue fueled by out-of-state money. Similar bills have died repeatedly since 2004.

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