NC House Bill 420
Act to expand eligibility for PESA and to consolidate PESA and OSP after two years. Will the new school choice bill be good for NC families?
Today marks the day NC House Bill 420 was filed in the General Assembly. The primary sponsor of the bill, Representative Loftis, a republican member from Gaston County went over a few features of the bill with me, per a phone call earlier today.
The representative discussed challenges with budgeting to get the consolidated program up and running, frequent communications with the Speaker’s staff, and the numerous drafts which had not been given the stamp of approval from House leadership over the years. Generally speaking, the bill combines the Personal Education Savings Account with the Opportunity Scholarship Program.
Also, if the bill becomes law, homeschoolers could be beneficiaries of funds, which rarely ever happens. In 2020, due to the so-called pandemic, they received a one time grant in the amount of $300 to assist with educational needs. But in my experience, I see too many homeschoolers fighting against funds to help them educate, or even outsource education. Over the years, this sector tends to claim they don’t want the government in their homeschools, and they want their privacy. Which reminds me of a recent -and yet hilarious- South Park episode with the supposed royals.
But recently, the Department of Non Public Education (the government) came intruding into their homeschools by way of email. Families were told for the first time ever in emails to send information in electronically, or else their homeschools would be closed by the state. This happened to me. I sent them no information. I don’t take kindly to bullies. My homeschool could be closed today, but theoretically I could still teach my child until the state brought me up on charges I suppose. What would they charge me with? Did the rest of the homeschool population oblige the state? Did anyone send the $300 back with a note saying , “No thanks. We’re good.”
Our rights are always in flux when the General Assembly is in session.
This bill is not forced on anyone. This is a major point that corporate media oftentimes ignores. It’s not defunding schools. It directs tax dollars back to taxpayers.
If it passes, families simply take steps needed to meet eligibility requirements and proceed with the application. This could be the 1st time ever in the state of North Carolina, homeschoolers could receive 28% of the Average Daily Membership/ADMs.
Things that stood out to me were:
31. Parental agreement- It is my opinion parents and guardians should be included in the language;
d. Administration Costs- 2.5% of the funds appropriated or ten million ($10,000,000.)
e. Program Outreach- Authority shall use the lesser of one percent (1%) of the funds appropriated or five million dollars ($5,000,000) each fiscal year to contract with a third party entity to conduct direct parent and family outreach related tonthe program
42. (1) For eligible students who attend home school, an amount up to 28%. I would strike (1) and include those students into item (2, below)
(2) For all eligible students who attend all other nonpublic schools, an amount up to one hundred percent as a full time student or up to fifty percent as a part-time student
The bill does so much more, such as setting standards (or carrying over previous language) for nonpublic schools who receive funds based on parents opting into the program :
Report tuition fees
Annual progress report to families
National Standardized Test Administration
Report graduation rates
CPA to perform financial review
Additional tuition prohibited (see p.11, line46)
If H.B.420 becomes law, it will apply to some scholarship applications as early as year 2024-2025.