Lawmaker proposes 'school savings account' bill, says it's 'school choice' | Prairie Public Broadcasting

Lawmaker proposes 'school savings account' bill, says it's 'school choice'

Jan 25, 2017

Rep. Rick Becker (R-Bismarck).
Credit Courtesy ND Legislature

ND United president Nick Archuleta.
Credit Courtesy ND United

A Bismarck lawmaker has introduced a bill allowing parents to set up “educational savings accounts.”

"It is a bill that could be described as 'The Money Follows the Child," said Rep. Rick Becker (R-Bismarck).

Parents would have to opt out of sending their children to public school. Becker said it’s a school choice bill – that allows parents to save money – tax free -- to send their children to private schools. He said not only does it help families, it will inspire public schools to improve.

"Many people across the nation are talking about that we need a paradigm shift in education," Becker said in an interview. "This is one big first step in getting that shift."

A group representing North Dakota teachers doesn’t like it.

"Straight up, that is not a savings account bill," said North Dakota United president Nick Archuleta. "It's a voucher bill."

Archuleta said there's no need for this -- because most polls show North Dakotans are very satisfied with their public schools.

"It diverts public monies raised for public schools," Archuleta said in an interview. "It allows those monies to be used to pay tuition at private schools."

The bill was heard in the House Education Committee.

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