Voucher Expansion Bill Dies in Committee | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Voucher Expansion Bill Dies in Committee

Rep. Joel Bomgar, R-Madison, who presented the bill, gave $200,000 to groups who campaigned for school choice in Mississippi in the 2015 elections. Photo courtesy Joel Bomgar

Rep. Joel Bomgar, R-Madison, who presented the bill, gave $200,000 to groups who campaigned for school choice in Mississippi in the 2015 elections. Photo courtesy Joel Bomgar

— The effort to expand public-education vouchers to allow low-income families to send their children to private schools died today in committee.

The controversial HB 943, which would have renamed the "Equal Opportunity for Students with Special Needs Act” to the “Equal Opportunity for All Students Act" and expended its scope, went down after the Appropriations Committee did not meet. Today is the deadline for bills to move to the floor.

Authored by Rep. John Moore, R-Brandon, the bill would have revised eligibility for Education Savings Accounts to include low-income as well as special-needs students, with special-needs students still receiving the $6,500, and students from low-, middle- and high-income families receiving $5,000, $4,000 and $3,000, respectively. As of January of this year, only 131 of the 433 vouchers available under the current program have been used.

In a January interview, the Mississippi Department of Finance and Administration said it expected the future of the leftover funds to be handled in future legislation.

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