Georgia General Assembly Passes School Choice Measure

The General Assembly in Georgia has passed a school choice measure that enables parents to take control of their children’s education amid growing concern about the downfall of the American school system.

SB 233, also known as “The Georgia Promise Scholarship Act,” was approved by the Senate in a 33-21 vote on March 20, following a 91-82 vote in the House the week before. The law now heads to the desk of Gov. Brian Kemp (R-GA) for the final signature of approval.

The governor expressed his support for the Senate’s bill in a post shared to X on Wednesday, saying he is “thankful to the General Assembly” for its work to provide “greater choice” in education for “students and families.”

Kemp, who has consistently advocated for school choice since campaigning for reelection in 2022, most recently called for such action during his State of the State address in January. In this speech to the General Assembly, the Republican governor emphasized SB 233 as an example of legislation that would assist students being educated by failing school districts.

The bill was first debated in the 2023 legislative session. However, even with endorsement from the governor’s office, it was eventually rejected by lawmakers before being approved when brought up the following year. It failed in 2023 due to 16 GOP members of the House siding with Democrats in voting against the measure.

“The Georgia Promise Scholarship Act” is designed to provide financial assistance to students who attend state schools with a rating of the Peach State’s lowest 25% for academic excellence. In order to be eligible for vouchers of up to $6,500, students are required to have been in public school for a minimum of two semesters, consecutively, or be about to start kindergarten.

Additional eligibility requirements include the student’s parents being Georgia residents for a minimum of one year, with the exception of active duty members of the military. Funds awarded through the program are allowed to be used to send students to another public school as well as a private school or purchase curriculum necessary for homeschooling. Therapy or tutoring sessions to further academic achievement are also permissible expenses for the program, as are some higher education classes for high schoolers.

The Senate’s passage of the bill comes one week after the House gave its approval of the measure, boosting the likelihood of the motion’s success. Both chambers of Georgia’s legislature are controlled by Republicans, who primarily backed the bill in both the 2023 and 2024 legislative sessions.

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