Parents in Georgia sued to block a tax-credit program that has drained nearly $300 million from public schools since 2008. Meanwhile the public schools have had to absorb crippling budget cuts.
“A controversial state program that offers tax credits to people who fund private school scholarships is unconstitutional and robs public schools of much-needed financial support, a lawsuit filed by Georgia parents Thursday argues.
“The group, backed by the Atlanta-based Southern Education Foundation, says the student scholarship tax credits violate both the state constitution and tax laws by, among other things, providing indirect public funding to religious schools, giving donors illegal benefits and allowing a publicly funded school program to be run by private groups.”
The Southern Education Foundation issued the following statement:
Statement by Steve Suitts, Vice President, Southern Education Foundation
April 3, 2014
“The Southern Education Foundation fully supports the lawsuit challenging Georgia’s tax credit scholarship program.
“The tax credit program for private schools has drained almost $300 million in tax funds from the state treasury since 2008 while public schools have suffered deep cuts across the state. The first constitutional obligation of the state is to provide “an adequate public education” for Georgia’s public school children.
“This state tax-funded program is administered by self-appointed private organizations that are virtually unregulated. They collect, spend, and distribute millions of tax dollars to private schools. Both tax funded private scholarship organizations and tax-funded private schools are unaccountable to the public for how they spend tax dollars, who receives tax-funded scholarships, and how they are educating children to meet state standards.
“This has been a costly failed experiment that is operating contrary to the state constitution. It is time to end it once and for all.”