It's Past Time for Colorado to Seriously Consider Private School Tax Credits

The Denver Post‘s website yesterday published an opinion column by Alliance for Choice in Education executive director Norton Rainey, decrying the “unsurprising” but disappointing defeat of House Bill 1296:

HB 1296 would have provided low-income families with an annual $1,000 tax credit for enrolling their child in a private school. The bill would also have provided a grant of $1,000 to any public school that loses a student to a private school as a consequence of the tax credit.

The legislation would have given low-income families a financial incentive to send their child to a private school, reduced public school class sizes as more children took advantage of the tax credit, and provided public schools with a $1,000 grant to help them give the children that remain a better quality education.

What’s more, HB 1296 would have saved the state millions of dollar, according to the official fiscal note prepared by Legislative Council: $4.9 million in savings for the first year, $6.9 million in the second year, and as much as $26 million by 2022. [link added]

Over at the GoBash blog, my Education Policy Center friends also highlighted some of the shameful lobbyist arguments used against this legislation (and its companion bill, HB 1295), which would have provided additional opportunities for many students while saving money for the state and public schools. I guess some people are bigoted against schools not run by the government, and that’s just the way they are.

I was going to write about this story last week, but it saddened me too much. I needed some down time with my Legos and my Nintendo Wii this weekend. And, of course, it helped a lot that Mr. Rainey put into words some of my same thoughts.

Let’s not give up, Colorado! These important tax credit proposals deserve serious consideration — even if better late than never.