The Georgia Senate Education and Youth Committee on Monday unanimously endorsed legislation intended to strengthen a state tax credit scholarship program that has been the target of weeks of criticism.
Senate Bill 243 now goes to the Senate for a full vote. If passed, it would "give preferences to students with financial needs," according to a copy of the legislation available on the Georgia General Assembly's website.
The committee's vote comes weeks after an Atlanta education policy group suggested in a January report that some scholarship , including North Cobb Christian School and Shiloh Hills Christian School.
That group, the Southern Education Foundation, did not take issue with the policies of private religious schools. But the SEF did have a problem with tax dollars going to schools that discriminate against some people. Tax money, the group said in its report, should go to schools that educate all students.
The SEF alleged other widespread abuse and called on the Department of Revenue to investigate the program, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“The Senate Education Committee has taken the first step to improve Georgia’s popular Tax Credit Scholarship program, which benefits student who need access to a better education,” said Dr. Danielle LeSure, director of the Center for an Educated Georgia, an organization that works to increase K-12 school options. “This legislation makes this important scholarship program more transparent, accountable and efficient, and we urge the full General Assembly to approve it.”