RALEIGH, N.C. (WECT) - Sen. Michael Lee (R-New Hanover) is one of the primary sponsors of a bill to expand North Carolina’s Opportunity Scholarship program, which provides funding for low-income or special needs students to attend private schools across the state.
Senate Bill 671 is also sponsored by Sen. Deanna Ballard (R-Watauga), who along with Sen. Lee co-chairs of the Senate’s Education Committee, and Sen. Amy Galey (R-Alamance), who is also a member of the same committee. It was filed today in the state senate.
According to a news release, the bill increases the maximum income level for families to be eligible for the scholarship, from the current 150 percent of the amount required to be qualified for federal free- or reduced-lunch programs, to 175 percent. It increases the scholarship amount from a maximum of $4,200 per year to near $6,500.
“Last year public schools in North Carolina were shut down because of the pandemic, leaving many parents to scramble to find alternatives that would meet their child’s needs,” Sen. Lee said in a statement included in the news release. “It’s clear that after a year of being forced into ‘virtual learning’ working-class families want a bigger say in their child’s education and Opportunity Scholarships can give them back their voice.”
Governor Roy Cooper’s recommended 2021-23 budget plan eliminates the Opportunity Scholarship Program as of the 2021-22 school year.