Darrell Allison, president of Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina (PEFNC), released the following statement regarding the 2017 Legislative Session Budget:
“As a statewide education advocacy organization, PEFNC supports programs and priorities that foster improved educational outcomes for all children in North Carolina. Thus we commend lawmakers in the North Carolina General Assembly for proposing a budget that’s aligned with what schools and students need to succeed, including funding for: K-12 enrollment growth, raising the cap on special needs funding, teacher pay raises, innovative learning programs, parental school choice, and more.”
“We’re especially pleased that both chambers continue to support the multi-year funding expansion of the popular Opportunity Scholarship Program, despite the governor’s proposed budget shrinking the Program. State lawmakers are strongly committed on keeping North Carolina’s promise to the nearly 17,000 total scholarship awards to date — and meeting the needs of families that still wait. Demand for the Program is rising: 2016-17 applications reveal a 70% increase since Program inception. Already, families have submitted nearly 9,000 applications for the 2017-18 school year.”
“We also commend House lawmakers for building into their budget a new and necessary uniform testing component to the Opportunity Scholarship Program. This testing component will strengthen Program accountability ensuring our families’ access to high-quality school options, and we’re hopeful such a design will be included in the final compromised budget.”
“Finally, we applaud Senate leaders for working to expand support for special needs families through a proposed education savings account. As we work alongside special needs groups like the Autism Society of North Carolina and others, we’re aware of the tremendous potential such a program could have in ensuring exceptional children receive an exceptional education. We hope this measure, too, secures final passage, becoming the third state-funded school choice program enacted by lawmakers since 2011.”
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