In Education Week, Allyson Klein and Andrew Ujifusa report that the GOP tax proposal will have negative effects on funding for public schools.

“The Republicans’ much-anticipated legislation to change the federal tax system includes a victory for school choice advocates: It would allow families to use up to $10,000 in savings from 529 college savings plans for K-12 expenses, including private school tuition.

“Overall, the bill released Thursday would slash corporate and some individual tax rates, offsetting the cost by nixing other deductions. That includes a $250 deduction that teachers can use to cover classroom expenses, such as books, art supplies, and rewards for students. The bill would also eliminate the deduction for state and local income and sales taxes, a step advocates warn could pinch K-12 spending at the district and state level. More on that below.

“And the legislation would put an end to the so-called Coverdell Accounts, tax-free accounts which families currently can use to cover up to $2,000 of K-12 costs, including private school tuition, in favor of the 529 change. Families could also use 529s to cover the cost of apprenticeships and could open an account when a child is “in utero” or “unborn.” We previewed the possibility of a 529 benefit for K-12 back in August. It has strong support from the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank…

The inclusion of 529 plans for K-12 in the tax package represents the first tangible win in the Trump era for school choice, a huge priority for DeVos.

But a tax credit for donations to fund private school scholarships, which some speculated would be a part of changes to the federal tax code, does not appear to be in the bill. Congress has also rejected the administration’s budget proposals to create a federal voucher program.”

The reduction in the deductibility of state and local taxes will hurt public school funding by reducing revenues.

“Teachers’ unions are unhappy about the elimination of the state and local tax deductions—but also upset about the decision to scrap the tax deduction to help teachers furnish their classrooms. During the 2012-13 academic year, teachers spent a total of $1.6 billion out of their own pockets for classroom expenses, according to a survey by the National School Supply and Equipment Association. A separate survey conducted during the 2015-16 school year found that each teacher spent $600 on average of his or her own money on those supplies and materials every year.”

SPEAK OUT AGAINST THE GOP TAX PLAN! IT TAKES AWAY THE SMALL DEDUCTION THAT TEACHERS USE TO COVER THE COST OF SCHOOL SUPPLIES THAT THEY PAY FOR, WHILE ENABLING WEALTHY FAMILIES TO CLAIM TAX CREDITS FOR PRIVATE SCHOOL TUITION.

The Network for Public Education is encouraging everyone to write to their members of Congress to vote against this unfair and unwise tax plan. It will hurt public schools and aid wealthy families.