Proposed school voucher bill fails in Arkansas House

Bill would allow vouchers for private schools

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - A school voucher bill that was proposed for the 91st General Assembly has failed in the Arkansas House on Thursday.

Introduced by state Representative Jim Dotson (R-Bentonville), the "Arkansas Parental Empowerment for Education Choice Act" proposes creating a four-year pilot program that would use up to $3 million a year in tax credits to be sent to private schools.

The bill failed by a vote of 35-45 with 16 representatives deciding not to vote.

Laurie Lee, a member of Arkansas Parents for School Choice, said House Bill 1222 is a "tax credit bill."

"Private citizens would make contributions for a tax credit," Lee said. "So, there would be no government funds involved."

Lee said the bill is designed to help children whose families don't have the resources to find the school that may fit their needs.

But, Cathy Koehler, President of the Little Rock Education Association, said the poorest kids are not the one who will benefit if HB1222 is passed.

"The way I read this is, the children who are currently on the waitlist for private schools, that are already on there waiting, are going to have priority over the lottery kids," Koehler said.

The bill is eligible for reconsideration by the House.

© 2017 KTHV-TV


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