Saturday, July 13, 2024

Landry signs education savings account bill into law

by BIZ Magazine

(The Center Square) — Louisiana Gov. Jeff Landry signed Senate Bill 313 into law on Wednesday, which will create the state’s first universal education savings account program for K-12 education.

The measure, titled the Louisiana Giving All True Opportunity to Rise or LA GATOR Scholarship Program, provides educational savings accounts to parents so they can choose what school to enroll their children or pay for tutoring or other educational expenses.

“This bill will establish an education scholarship this state so desperately needs,” Landry said during the signing ceremony.

The new law makes the Louisiana the 12th state to pass universal school choice.

SB 313, which was authored by Sen. Rick Edmonds, R-Baton Rouge, will replace an existing voucher program for students in failing schools with a universal program in a three-phase program, covering those in poverty and with a disability first before extending to all students.

The bill is a part of a larger effort by Gov. Landry to bring drastic reform to Louisiana’s K-12 education system.

“As you can see this was a concerted team effort by not only the Legislature but all of those associations and all of those parents that wanted an opportunity to see their child have quality education and to be able to control their tax dollars,” Landry said.

One of those pro-school choice groups Landry mentioned called yes. every kid. posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, to show their support of the bill they helped produce.

“The GATOR Scholarship will empower EVERY Louisiana child with access to an education that fits their needs,” the organization said in their post.

Unlike Louisiana’s existing school voucher program, which helps low-income families attend private school, the ESA program will eventually replace it with stipends for all parents regardless of financial need.

“Eventually this program will be accepted by every parent in this state, and every parent will have an opportunity if they want to send their child to a school other than public school,” Landry said.

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