Appropriations Committee Saves D.C. Scholarship Program

Here is an update to an earlier post about the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program from Dan Lips at The Heritage Foundation:

“The families of the 1,900 children participating in the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship program breathed a sigh of relief when the Congressional Appropriations Committee approved funding to provide scholarships for another school year.

The Appropriations Committeeʼs move came a week after a subcommittee chaired by Rep. Jose Serrano voted last week to include $14 million in funding for scholarships for the budget. Although this is less than the $18 million requested by the Bush administration and D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty, it keeps the program alive for another year.

Before yesterdayʼs full Appropriations Committee mark-up, word circulated on Capitol Hill that Democratic lawmakers were considering an amendment to strip out the funding for the voucher program. In response, families with children in the scholarship program sent letters to Capitol Hill asking Representatives not to kill the program.

Fortunately, no such amendment was offered and the funding for the program remains, for now, in the federal budget. But parents and other school choice supporters fear that those intent on ending the scholarship program havenʼt given up yet.

The ongoing debate over the future of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship program forces members to decide who comes first in education-children in need or special interest groups. No children will benefit if Congress kills the voucher program.”

Matt Wingard is Director of the School Choice Project at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market research center.