Governor Lynch has vetoed SB 372, the “tax credit” bill that would funnel education dollars away from public schools and into private and religous schools. in his veto message, the Governor said,
This bill shifts limited state funds away from public school districts, it will downshift the cost of reduced adequacy payments to local communities and property tax payers, it allows private organizations to determine the use of public education funds, and does not fully target scholarship funds to students most in need of help with tuition and other educational expenses. For all of these reasons, I have decided to veto this legislation.
Proponents of this bill believe that school districts may save up to $500 per student in operating costs due to students switching to private schools. But the vast majority of costs incurred in operating schools are fixed costs that are incurred even if some students switch to private school. The loss of students from the public schools as a result of these scholarships will not meaningfully reduce school operating costs. Even accounting for the state stabilization grants that would be paid to schools that lose state adequacy grants and the reduction of some variable costs from the loss of scholarship students, the Department of Education has calculated that bill will collectively cost school districts $3,687,861 in year one, $5,472,119 in year two and $6,330,646 in year three. Struggling school districts and local taxpayers cannot afford that loss.
SB 372 will also allow private, non-profit corporations to determine where public education dollars are spent. This bill does not identify those organizations beyond requiring that they be non-profits, register with the state’s Charitable Trust Division and comply with applicable state and federal anti-discrimination laws. But I believe that the executive and legislative branches should determine where public school money is spent, not a private corporation.
Lastly, while the intent of the bill, in part, is to provide financial assistance to less fortunate students in helping them switch to a private school, a substantial portion of scholarships are available with no income restrictions and to students already attending private school.