School choice legislation is likely from Georgia lawmakers this session

(The Center Square) — Georgia lawmakers are almost certain to discuss school funding and even school choice legislation during this year’s legislative session.

“I think we’re going to have a very robust discussion when it comes to school funding, when it comes to vouchers and other issues that come before us,” House Speaker Jon Burns, R-Newington, said during a press conference this week. “I believe we have … a very diverse state when it comes to education funding, whether you’re from rural Georgia, or whether you’re from urban Georgia, and how funding impacts us all and comes into this equation.”

During last year’s session, the Georgia Senate scuttled Senate Bill 601, the Georgia Educational Freedom Act.

The measure would have created state-funded Promise Scholarships of up to $6,000 a year. Families of K-12 students in Georgia could have used the money for private school tuition and other education expenses, such as tutoring and homeschool curriculum.

“Parents are demanding more options in education, spurred on by the seismic changes we’ve seen in K-12 schools during the pandemic,” Buzz Brockway, executive vice president of public policy for the Georgia Center for Opportunity, said in a statement in response to Gov. Brian Kemp declaring Jan. 22-28 as National School Choice Week.

“On this front, we’re proud that Georgia is leading the charge on expanding educational opportunity for every child, not just for those from families with the right income or who live in the right zip code,” Brockway added. “This legislative session, Georgia lawmakers must build on the progress we’ve made in recent years by approving Education Scholarship Accounts to ensure educational access for all.”