ARKANSAS PARENTS FOR SCHOOL CHOICE

      An alliance of Arkansans committed to empowering our families to choose the best education for their children.

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Why do students need options?

Every child deserves access to a quality education that provides the knowledge, skills and values necessary to prepare them for a successful career and fulfilling life. Unfortunately, many children are assigned to schools that don’t fit their unique needs and learning styles. Education designed around zip codes is sure to fail some students – it would be foolish to think otherwise. For many parents, the only available option is to relocate to a new community – an option out of reach for thousands of families without the resources to pick up and move.

                                                   Tax Credit Scholarship

What is a Tax Credit Scholarship?

With a Tax Credit Scholarship, parents can develop education plans for their children by directing funds towards a variety of state-approved educational expenditures, including:

Will this program harm public schools?

Absolutely not.

 1. Public schools keep all of their local, state, and federal funding.

This program does not touch any part of a public school’s education budget.

2. No one loses options under this program. 

For parents happy with their child’s current public school (the vast majority), nothing will change. This program merely provides another option to the small percentage of students not succeeding in their zoned school.

3. This program is focused on kids – not school buildings.

Our entire education system improves when parents can put their children in the school that fits their unique needs.

Benefits of the Program

  • Parents can craft education plans based on the needs of their children: Scholarship funds can be used for any number of approved expenditures, ensuring that families have education options that fit their needs.
  • These programs save the state money: because the amount of money awarded to students is less than the amount spent per-student in public schools. For instance, a government study of a tax-credit scholarship program in Florida showed that taxpayers saved $1.49 for every $1 awarded in scholarships– which results in savings in the tens-of-millions each year.
  • Parent satisfaction: A survey of more than 14,000 parents in a similar scholarship program in Florida found 93% of participants were satisfied with the program. Another survey of parents in an Arizona program found 100% satisfaction with that program, without a single surveyed parent expressing dissatisfaction.

Student Eligibility

The program will be limited to:

  • Low- and middle-income students
  • Students with disabilities
  • Foster children
  • Children of active-duty military parents.

 Scholarship Amounts

Scholarships amounts will be pegged to the average foundation funding amount that public schools receive from the state. In the 2018-19 school year, the average amount was $6,781.

Scholarship Funding

Businesses and individuals will be eligible to receive a dollar-for-dollar, 100% credit against their state income taxes when they donate to nonprofit organizations that provide scholarships to eligible students. The program will be capped at $10 million in tax credits per year.

Private School

Are private schools accessible?

A 2016 survey of private schools in Arkansas found that the average tuition costs were less than $4,500 per year. Based on private school projections in the same survey, it is estimated that there are more than 9,000 empty seats in private schools across Arkansas – empty seats that could be accessed by students in need of an alternative.