Mississippi could be second state to pass education savings law

By Mary C. Tillotson | Watchdog.org

Mississippi came two steps closer Thursday to adopting an innovative school choice program: education savings accounts, which provide parents with the flexibility to tailor their children’s education to their needs.

EDUCATION SAVINGS ACCOUNTS allow parents to tailor their child’s education to his or her needs.

The state would deposit about $6,000 into an ESA, and parents could spend that money on private school tuition, private tutoring, college and other educational expenses. If either bill becomes law, students with special needs will be eligible.

The state Senate passed a bill, sponsored by Sen. Nancy Collins, and the House passed a similar bill, sponsored by Rep. Carolyn Crawford. The House bill puts a tighter cap on the number of students eligible for ESAs.

Either bill must be passed by the other chamber, approved by a conference committee, then return to both chambers for a vote before the governor can sign one into law, wrote Stephanie Linn, government relations director for the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice.

If either bill becomes law, Mississippi would be the second state to have an ESA law. Arizona passed one in 2011.

“Mississippi lawmakers took a bold step to refashion K-12 education and prioritize the individual learning needs of every child in the state. This landmark legislation allows parents to make decisions about what’s best for their children, with education funding that follows students to optimize on options that will help them succeed,” said Patricia Levesque, CEO of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, in a statement.

Contact Mary C. Tillotson at mtillotson@watchdog.org.

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