The budget proposal passed by the North Carolina House Thursday included more than some legislators bargained for. House Republicans included a controversial private school voucher proposal in what was otherwise the most public education-friendly of the state’s budget proposals.
The House budget, now headed for a conference committee to reconcile differences with the Senate’s version, included appropriations for House Bill 944, the Opportunity Scholarship Act, which will allow low-income students to apply for up to $4,200 each year to attend private schools. Proponents of the measure say it expands choices for low-income parents with children stuck in underperforming public schools. Opponents say it will hurt the public education system by removing resources from it and giving them to private institutions that don’t have to meet the same accountability standards.