Add a giveaway of state tax dollars to private schools as part of the agenda set by last-minute billing filings.

Rep. Bob Ballinger’s HB 1593 would allow parents of private school students to take both the state and local funding level in a school district as an entitlement. They could get up to 65 percent of the state aid calculation for the student.

This would be a body blow to public education and involve millions in transfers of public dollars to people who’ve long ago made the decision to go to private schools. The law specifies that no state regulation of the schools would be allowed.

There’s lots more in the bill, but the opposition to Bullet Bob’s latest seems likely to be widespread enough to spell defeat even in this particular Republican legislature. 2017? Not ready to say.

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Gov. Asa Hutchinson has said repeatedly that he opposes straight school vouchers (though he allowed in a recent profile that his wife does not.)  He has drastic plans already afoot for schools — probably including an open door to privatizing operations — but so far nothing so drastic as a direct payment to any and all private schools.

Ballinger and others might well argue that there’s little difference in a voucher and a privately run school using tax dollars except the name “charter,” particularly when it’s a management company with ties back to profit-making subcontractors that’s running the charter. 

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