Parents of school-age kids in Colorado could soon see their school choice options grow, following today’s passage by the Senate of SB15-045, which would give families that homeschool or choose private schools a tax credit they could put toward that education.
If approved, the law would help Colorado regain its reputation as a leader in educational innovation and choice.
The credit, which can only be claimed for students previously attending public schools, makes school choice more affordable not by taking education dollars from public school districts and putting it in the hands of parents, but by lowering the tax liability of those parents, freeing them to spend those extra dollars on the education that suits them.
“Colorado’s public education system may be working for some students, but there’s ample evidence that it’s failing many others, who currently have no practical means of escape when trapped in a failing school,” said Sen. Kevin Lundberg (R- Berthoud), in explaining the impetus behind the bill. “Leaving more money in the hands of parents, by offering them a tax credit, means there will be more money available for other options like homeschooling or possibly private school. And it costs traditional schools nothing because that’s one less student they have to educate.”
The bill also helps make a private school education more affordable to parents of modest means by creating a parallel tax credit for third party funders of individual student scholarships. This funding mechanism would offer a huge potential savings to the state, and to taxpayers, according to its supporters, by potentially increasing the per-pupil funding available for traditional public schools.
“We need to look for public school funding options that empower the consumers, meaning parents and students, instead of a public school bureaucracy that frequently delivers poor results at high cost,” added Lundberg. “Colorado can’t maintain its reputation for school innovation unless we further empower public school parents through these cutting-edge funding mechanisms."
SB15-045 now moves to the House for consideration.