One of the most important and compassionate education policies passed by the GOP-led legislature this year is the opportunity scholarship — a voucher — for kids with special needs. In this Carolina Journal piece about the many K-12 reforms that are being enacted, Dan Way reports on reaction.

Also passed was House Bill 269, the “Children with Disabilities Scholarships Grants,” which replaces and expands the special needs tax credit, allowing more families to benefit from the program. Low-income families who paid no or very little state personal income tax were not able to take full advantage of the tax credit. The scholarships, however, will be open to children from all income levels.

“The scholarships will be awarded to reimburse tuition and special education and related services for eligible children entering kindergarten or first grade or children transferring from a public school to a nonpublic school or homeschool. The grants cannot exceed $3,000 per semester,” beginning in the 2014 spring semester, said sponsor Rep. Paul “Skip” Stam, R-Wake.

There are reports “from across the state from parents of children with special needs who have struggled in our current public school system now to get all of the services that are required,” said Julia Adams, assistant government relations director for The ARC of North Carolina.

While some parents may be happy with how their kids with special needs are being served in the traditional public school system, others are not. They want – and deserve – to have the opportunity for their kids to have tailored education. And now, thanks to the legislature, they will.