by Brenée Goforth
Communications Associate, John Locke Foundation
Recently, Carolina Journal’s Leonard Robinson III wrote about a school-choice panel hosted by the Cato Institute and the Civitas Institute on June 5. Robinson reported the panel included:
Neal McCluskey, director of the Cato Institute Center for Education Freedom; Anna Egalite, an assistant professor at N.C. State University; Sen. Joyce Krawiec, R-Forsyth; former House Majority Leader Paul “Skip” Stam, R-Wake; and former state Sen. Joel Ford, D-Mecklenburg. Christopher Hansford, Cato’s director of state relations, served as the moderator.
The article goes over many aspects of the panel discussion, but one of the major discussions it mentions is raising the income cap for Opportunity Scholarships. According to NC State Professor Anna Egalite, raising the cap is important:
“You want families to be able to take on a second job or take a promotion… Parents are facing hidden costs and take on more to make those costs, but they are afraid of surpassing the income eligibility mark.”
The legislature currently has a bill which would raise the cap to 150% of the amount required to qualify for free or reduced lunch. As Sen. Joyce Krawiec put it:
“We want to continue to expand,” Krawiec said. “For those folks who want choice, we need to continue to expand it for them and open that door. Income shouldn’t be a barrier to choice.”
As Robinson writes, other provisions of the bill would:
allow 4-year-olds to become eligible for Opportunity Scholarships, Special Education Scholarships for Children with Disabilities, and Personal Education Savings Accounts… and eliminate the cap on scholarship funds for students entering kindergarten or first grade.