House Speaker Pro Tem Paul “Skip” Stam said he plans to introduce a $90 million plan to provide vouchers that will allow many parents to send their children to private schools.
Stam said the bill will offer a maximum $4,200 “equal opportunity scholarship grant” per child for those who meet income eligibility requirements, he told the Carolina Journal.
He estimated that it 52 percent of North Carolina school children would be eligible for vouchers for the 2013-14 school year, and 65 percent the following year. He said a scholarship could not exceed 90 percent of the cost of a private school's charges for tuition fees.
Stam said the vouchers would save the state money because it now costs state and local governments $6,745 per per child, while the vouchers would cost $3,990 per child.
He cited a state-wide poll conducted for the Civitas Institute, showing broad public support for the measure.
"We've been trying to do this for about 20 years," Stam told The Journal. ""It is nice to have a majority in the legislature to be able to actually do it.''
Former Congressman Bill Cobey, the new chairman of the state Board of Education, voiced support for the proposal. During the campaign, Gov. Pat McCrory voiced limited support for vouchers saying he backed tax credits for "targeted" groups of children.