North Carolina NAACP leaders gathered in front of the General Assembly Monday afternoon to criticize a bill that would would give tax credits to corporations which contribute to scholarship funding for private schools, reports staff writer Rosella Age.
"[It's] an attempt to privatize schools ... at the expense of the neediest child," said Rev. Dr. William Barber, who led the news conference.
The bill, introduced by Rep. Paul Stam, R-Wake, would let corporations take a tax credit worth their entire annual state tax if they donated tuition to help students with financial disadvantages attend private school.
The scholarships — a maximum of $4,000 per family — would be awarded to those with annual household incomes is 225 percent of the federal poverty level. That's about $50,000 for a family of four.
Chris Hill, Director of the Education & Law Project, argued that the $4,000 amount would not help low-income families, who would have to scrap together the rest of the money.
Those present at the conference said the passage of this bill would divert essential funds to private schools.
"Private education isolates opportunity. Public education opens opportunity to everyone," Barber said. "We should not be funneling more money into private schools."
The bill's supporters, however, have said that it would save taxpayers money, pointing out that it costs about $8,000 per student for a child in public school.
Duke University professor Tim Tyson aimed blame at Stam.
"A question for Stam," Tyson challenged. "When you ran for office, did you tell voters that you intended to dismantle the public school system?"
The group hand-delivered letters addressing the bill to House Speaker Thom Tillis' office and Senate Leader Phil Berger's office following the news conference.