COLUMBIA — The South Carolina House of Representatives passed a sizeable school choice package today by a vote of 65-49. House Bill 4894 had 62 co-sponsors.
The three components of the bill are a tax deduction for schooling expenses, a tax-credit scholarship program for low-income families, and a tax-credit scholarship program for students with special needs.
“Like many states this year, South Carolina recognizes the need to support greater educational options for parents,” Robert Enlow, President and CEO of the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, said. “The passage of this bill is a testament to the willingness of lawmakers to put the needs of students before the interests of adults, as well as to the hard work of local community leaders like Randy Page.”
The measure passed by the House would provide the following three programs:
Tax Deduction Program
- Parents who choose to move their child from one public school to another will be eligible for a $1,000 state income tax deduction.
- Parents who home school their children will be eligible to receive a $2,000 state income tax deduction for approved educational expenses per student.
- Parents with children enrolled in an independent, non-public school will be eligible to receive a $4,000 state income tax deduction.
Tax-Credit Scholarship Program for Low-Income Children
- Individuals and corporations will be able to claim a 60 percent state tax credit for contributions they make to approved Scholarship Granting Organizations that distribute scholarships to qualified children.
- Eligible children are those who qualify for the federal free and reduced-price lunch program or who are Medicaid eligible.
- Scholarships will be worth up to $5,000 or 75 percent of tuition, whichever is less.
- The total cap on the program is $15 million with an annual escalator based on population growth and the Consumer Price Index.
Tax-Credit Scholarship Program for Children with Special Needs
- Individuals and corporations will be able to claim a 60 percent state tax credit for contributions they make to approved Scholarship Granting Organizations that distribute scholarships to qualified children with special needs.
- Eligible children are students with significant disabilities, whose parents believe that the services provided by the local public school district do not meet the needs of the student.
- Scholarships will be worth up to $10,000 or 75 percent of tuition, whichever is less.
- The total cap on the program is $10 million with an annual escalator based on population growth and the Consumer Price Index.
“For six years, the Friedman Foundation has worked with many local partners, including South Carolinians for Responsible Government Foundation, to educate the public on the need for school choice,” Enlow added. “The effort in South Carolina is proof positive of the importance of the Friedman Foundation’s focus on educating the public over the long-term.”
This proposal next moves to the Senate for consideration.
About the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice
The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and nonpartisan organization, solely dedicated to advancing Milton and Rose Friedman’s vision of school choice for all children. First established as the Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation in 1996, the Foundation continues to promote school choice as the most effective and equitable way to improve the quality of K-12 education in America. The Foundation is dedicated to research, education, and outreach on the vital issues and implications related to choice and competition in K-12 education.