Expand the Tuition Tax Credit Program? No Thanks! Oppose HB 54
What is the exact wrong thing to do for a program which funnels money from public schools which follow state laws to relatively unregulated private schools without supervision to confirm that the money serves a valid purpose?
Expand it so more money flows into this sinkhole. That's what Georgia House Bill 54 does by expanding the amount of money Georgians can divert from their state income taxes to private school scholarships administered by third-party organizations called Student Scholarship Organizations.
A recent performance audit by the Georgia Department of Audits and Accounts of the Qualified Education Expense Tax Credit showed that the program lacked transparency and legislative oversight. This program provides a tax credit to individuals and corporations that donate to pass-through organizations that then pay private school tuition for parents who apply. Among many issues, the audit highlights that there were inadequate controls in place to prevent individuals and corporations from receiving the tax break even if they have not earned it. Further, the audit found that some voucher-granting organizations (called Student Scholarship Organizations or SSOs) regularly failed to report and/or verify legal requirements on how the vouchers were managed. These structural flaws do not even address the fact that Georgians have no assurances of how students perform once their parents take advantage of this program, as these schools are not held accountable to state standards of excellence or tested to measure performance.
Columbia County Advocates for Public Education opposes subsidizing private schools at the expense of public schools. The most common form this takes is vouchers. This short video explains how voucher programs hurt public schools.