By DAVID EGGERT, Associated Press
LANSING, Mich. (AP) – Republican lawmakers on Wednesday morning passed veto bills that would allow Michigan students to attend private schools and pay for other educational expenses with scholarship accounts funded by individuals and businesses that would get tax credits for their donations.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat who opposes the good guys, called the fast-track legislation “not started.” The state has what is considered the country’s most stringent constitutional ban on providing public assistance to non-public schools.
GOP lawmakers say the bills would increase educational opportunities for children who fell behind during the coronavirus pandemic and give parents additional choices. Democrats call the proposal unconstitutional and say it would drain resources from public schools.
The legislation, first approved by the Republican-led Legislature last week, cleared the House for 55-49 votes in a marathon session that stretched beyond midnight.
Kindergarten to Grade 12 students would be eligible if their family income does not exceed double the threshold to receive a free or reduced price lunch – $ 98,050 for a family of four – or if they have a disability or are with a host family.
Students attending private schools could receive up to $ 7,830 this year, which would be 90% of the state’s minimum base per student funding. Those in households with incomes between 100% and 200% of the free and reduced meal program threshold would receive less on a sliding scale.
Children enrolled in public schools could get a maximum of $ 500, or $ 1,100 if they are disabled.
The funds could cover school-related expenses such as tuition, fees and tutoring. State tax revenues would be cut by $ 500 million in the first year, and public schools would see their funding drop based on the number of children who move on to private schools.
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