Bill Could Give Homeschoolers $4,600 Per Student Per Year
Thanks to what may be the nation’s broadest non-public school vouchers program, homeschoolers in West Virginia may soon be eligible to receive $4,600 per student per year for education expenses.
Officially known as House Bill 2013, the Hope Scholarship is an education savings account (ESA) program that would go to any family that removes a child from public education. The bill is also set up to subsidize people who never enroll their children in public schools.
“This is a program that is funding kids,” Senate Education Committee Chairwoman Patricia Rucker said as reported by The Intelligencer. “It’s not funding private schools. It’s not funding education service providers. It is funding kids, and these are West Virginia students and West Virginia taxpayers, and there could be a multitude of reasons why they apply for a Hope Scholarship and why they are seeking this help.”
Although he has previously been against vouchers publicly, West Virginia’s governor, Jim Justice, said he is considering signing the bill if it reaches his desk.
“I will be fair-minded and I will absolutely, absolutely do the very best that I can possibly do for the people of West Virginia,” Justice told the Herald-Dispatch in Huntington.
According to EdChoice, five states currently have active ESA programs. Arizona was the first state to offer a program in 2011. Since then, they have been joined by similar programs in Florida, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Tennessee.
In addition, the West Virginia legislature is discussing whether or not to reduce state income tax for private and homeschooling families by up to $3,000 annually per child. If approved, families could write off educational expenses like tuition, tutoring, and textbooks.