Saturday, March 22, 2008

President's budget up voucher money

Tucked away in President Bush's 2009 budget proposal is a $5 million increase in funding for the DC Opportunity Scholarship program, otherwise known as vouchers.
President George W. Bush's 2009 budget request for the federal government, released in February, includes a proposal to boost federal funding for the Washington, DC school system by $32 million, including a $5 million hike for the DC Opportunity Scholarship program--the citywide voucher program for low-income students.

The proposed budget increase for schools in the nation's capital signaled the Bush administration's commitment to extending the DC School Choice Incentive Act program. Signed into law in 2003, the federal legislation authorized the creation of a new $13 million school voucher program for low-income students living in the District of Columbia.

The program also included an additional $13 million funding grant each for the traditional public schools budget and the charter schools budget.

The DC Opportunity Scholarship program, which currently helps more than 1,900 disadvantaged students attend private schools, faces an uncertain future on Capitol Hill.

Leading congressional Democrats, including DC Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, oppose the program and recommend its discontinuation. The program is due for reauthorization this year.

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