Here’s what the proposed education savings accounts could cost the state

    Louisiana parents could have the option to utilize taxpayer funds to enroll their children in private schools or alternative public schools through proposed legislation that cleared the house budget committee Tuesday, The USA Today Network reports.

    House Bill 745 by Rep. Julie Emerson, R-Carencro, would create education savings accounts for any student regardless of income.

    The bill passed the House Appropriations Committee Tuesday with a 13-8 vote and heads to the full House for discussion. The Senate Education Committee has already approved Senate Bill 313, a duplicate bill by Sen. Rick Edmonds.

    The annual education savings account awards would be $5,100 for students from higher-income homes, $7,500 for students from lower-income families and $15,000 for students with special needs.

    Opponents fear the program will take resources from the public school system. Some express concerns that it would cause more parents to pull their children from the public system―even the top-rated schools―further diminishing public school funding, which is based on the number of students enrolled.

    The education savings account program could cost the state $258 million in new spending by its third year, according to the Legislative Fiscal Office. 

    Louisiana already funds a voucher program in which the state pays for students to attend private schools if they are stuck in public schools that are rated C, D, or F. It covers private school tuition for nearly 6,000 students at $45 million annually. 

    Emerson says 14 other states have implemented similar programs.

    If the legislation is signed into law, the program would be phased in over three years, beginning during the 2025-2026 school year. In its first year, it would favor current voucher students and lower-income students. All students would be eligible in the third year.

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