In a post earlier this week Kris Nordstrom of NC PolicyWatch — said yet again – that the Opportunity Scholarship Program, the state’s voucher program to help low income children pay tuition at private schools, was “overfunded” and drained resources from underfunded public schools.
Not so, said former Republican House Majority Leader, Paul “Skip” Stam. Stam, who helped to shepherd OSP legislation, took issue with Nordstrom’s post in a letter he drafted and distributed earlier this week. After reviewing the data, the former legislator concludes more scholarships are needed — not fewer.
With regard to Nordstrom’s claim that money from the “undersubscribed” program could be put to better use, Stam responds:
Critics of the program countered that the money “is sitting in a state bank account collecting dust” to describe unused funds. Scholarship appropriations, if not used, appear in general fund balances in the fiscal year after one year of rollover, and are available for appropriation for any purpose. That money is not wasted, lost, or “collecting dust.” The State Treasurer collects interest and dividends until the money is appropriated for another purpose. Appropriating revisions in state government is not unusual. It is essential.
Regarding the claim that OSP is overfunded, Stam writes:
Demand continues to grow! Applications for the 2020-21 school year opened on February 1, 2020 with 7,373 new applications already submitted. New applicants and recipients have increased each year, resulting in 12,283 students enjoying their Opportunity Scholarship this school year (2019-20). There is now a waiting list of 750 eligible applicants. Ending the arbitrary quota on our youngest students would completely do away with arguments about “unused funds.” This program is in demand and serving low-income parents across our state. It empowers them with a real choice for their child’s education – many for the first time ever.
OSP provides eligible children the chance to receive a better education. That’s why the program enjoys strong parental and public support.
In the meantime, the Left will continue to share their unending concern for poor families and disadvantaged students while dredging up a myriad of faulty reasons why it’s better that children from poor families not have the opportunity for a better future.
The Left continues to smear OSP; and OSP continues to grow.