Final Virginia budget includes school choice support; advocates want more

Virginia Gov. Glenn Younkin ceremonially signed the state’s two-year budget Tuesday at a Richmond grocery store. PHOTO: Associated Press

Editor’s note: This article appeared Monday on thecentersquare.com.

The final budget for Virginia included full funding for a school choice scholarship program and funding for the creation of laboratory schools, but advocates for education choice are urging the government to do more in the future.

Lawmakers approved two key budget amendments proposed by Gov. Glenn Youngkin, which included full funding for the Education Improvement Scholarships Tax Credits program. The program provides a 65% tax credit for individuals and businesses who donate to scholarships for students to attend private schools and nonpublic preschool programs.

The EISTC program will receive the same level of funding as provided in the previous budget, which is $25 million annually thanks to an amendment from the governor, which removed a provision that would have cut the program funding by more than half. The amendment received unanimous support in the Senate and some bipartisan support in the House.

“Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin stood firm by his commitment to support parental rights in education last week by removing a budget provision that would have gutted the state’s tax credit scholarship program,” Corey DeAngelis, the national director of research at the American Federation for Children, told The Center Square.

“The House and Senate both concurred with the Governor’s budget amendment, saving the state’s program that empowers thousands of families to choose the education providers that best meet their children’s needs,” DeAngelis added. “This is a win for Virginia families – and it should be celebrated – but it’s just a start.”

DeAngelis said there is still more the state can do, such as expanding the EISTC tax credit to 100%, rather than 65%, and expanding eligibility for families. He said the state should also support an education savings account program.

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