Big changes are head for education in the state. Republicans have promised to raise or remove the limit on charter schools. Legislative leaders are interested in merit pay for teachers.
Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina wants tuition tax credits for parents who send their children to private schools to be among the legislative initiatives.
"It's a paradigm shift we need to embrace in the 21st century," said Darrell Allison, the group's president.
Incoming House Majority Leader Paul Stam of Apex filed two bills for tax credits in the last two years, one focused on special needs children and the other a boarder measure that would allow a $1,250 credit per semester for parents who meet income guidelines. The taxable income limit for a couple filing jointly would have been $100,000.
The legislative Fiscal Research Division estimated that, if about 11,500 tax credits were granted, the state would save about $28.8 million a year in the first year because cost of the credit is less than the state's cost to educate each child.
Stam said he expects someone will propose tuition tax credts again next session, and he gives the bill a good chance to pass.
"I'm right optimistic," he said.
Allison lays out an option for refundable tax credits up to $4,000 a year for parents who send their children to independent private or religious schools.
"When you look at tax credit programs, they generated significant savings," he said.
Tax credit and voucher programs are controversial in the cities and states that use them, and there's a debate whether the children who attend private schools using tax credits do better than their public school counterparts on standardized tests.
If tax credits get any traction, Stam has a PowerPoint ready.