February 2019 Church & State Magazine - February 2019

Mississippi Oversight Body Says Voucher Plan Is Flawed

  Rob Boston

Private schools taking part in a voucher-like program in Mississippi are failing to serve students with special needs, a new report indicates.

In early December, the Mississippi Legislature’s Oversight Agency, known as PEER, issued a report noting problems with the state’s Education Scholarship Account Program.

Under the program, the state pays $6,500 per year to subsidize private school tuition. PEER surveyed private schools taking part in the program and found that many of them are relying on public schools to provide services to students with special needs, reported the Tupelo Daily Journal.

“Private schools are being paid to provide special education services that they are not providing,” said Nancy Loome, executive director of the Parents Campaign. “We deserve accountability for how tax dollars are used. Public schools are the most accountable entities in our state, so this is a tremendous double standard.”      

Loome added, “We believe that this voucher program is an inappropriate use of tax-payer dollars and a violation of the public trust. Public funds should be used for public schools.”

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