Later today the North Carolina General Assembly is expected to take up major Covid-relief legislation in what is expected to be a brief two-day session beginning today at noon. In a post released yesterday , Dallas Woodhouse did a good job of outlining what are expected to be the major components of the legislation. A review of draft bill posted yesterday quickly reveals that lawmakers have more than covid relief in the bill, but that is not a surprise.
Corona virus has certainly impacted education and how it is delivered to students. In order to provide parents with additional educational options, lawmakers are expanding expand eligibility for the Opportunity Scholarship Program from 133 percent to 150 percent of eligibility for free and reduced lunch. The program provides scholarships of up to $4,200 to eligible children to attend a private school. The change means that a family of four with a household income of $72,000 will now be eligible for a scholarship. Also included is a provision to remove the cap on the number of Kindergarten and first grade students which program supporters say has limited the growth of the Opportunity Scholarship Program.
Also expected to be In the final version of the covid-relief bill is a provision to add $6.5 million in funding to the Disabilities Grant Program to help address a growing waitlist of applicants and provide more relief to special needs students who have been shortchanged by Covid relief instruction plans.
We applaud lawmakers and especially Senators Deanna Ballard and Joyce Krawiec for their work to expand educational opportunities.