While the Mississippi Senate has passed a bill to extend the state's ESA program, an organization rooting for the bill says some serious changes are needed to make it acceptable.
The SB 2594 substitute amendment would, among other things, extend the life of the Education Scholarship Account program for special needs students. As Grant Callen of Empower Mississippi tells OneNewsNow, the original version contained hurdles that would have been difficult, if not impossible, to overcome.
"Most of the worst provisions in this bill were taken out, but I will say it's still got some really troubling components," Callen reports. "It's a tricky situation because we need this bill to renew the program."
The House is now taking up the measure, and the Empower Mississippi president says a lot of people would like to use the opportunity to close the program entirely or to gut it so that it would serve only a few students.
"We are working with House members to see if we can make additional improvements to this bill that would keep from hurting families but keep the option for families to participate in this great school choice program," Callen says.
The ESA program gives parents of students with special needs the ability to direct their state tax dollars to a private school and services when they are unable to find success in their public school. If the legislature fails to pass a bill to extend the voucher program, then it will end on June 30th of this year.
Editor's Note: This story has been corrected to clarify the ESA bill passed the Mississippi Senate and is being considered by the House.