The Republican controlled Arkansas legislature repeatedly tried and failed to pass school choice legislation in 2017, 2019, and earlier this year. Then Senator Jonathan Dismang (R-Beebe) offered an option to the previous versions of school choice legislation.
Sen. Dismang’s bill, SB680, helps overcome economic barriers by providing school choice scholarships for children of low-income families. The bill limits the scholarship fund to no more than $2 million per year, which is less than was proposed by the failed HB1371.
The scholarships are funded by private donations and the donor receives a tax credit equal to 100% of the contribution.
“Dismang said he believes that the public schools are the best place for a child in most cases, but he knows that isn’t always the case.” – Democrat-Gazette[i]
Representative Ken Bragg (R-Sheridan), who was the lead sponsor of HB1371 on school choice, is the House cosponsor of SB680, and Senator Dismang was the Senate cosponsor of Bragg’s bill.
SB680 passed in the House of Representatives on Wednesday, April 21 and has been sent to the Governor for his signature. Congratulations to all the legislators and members of the public who fought for this bill.
Please thank Sen. Dismang, Rep. Bragg, the other cosponsors of the bill, and the 25 Senators and 52 Representatives who helped pass this bill.
[i] Private school tuition measure passes Senate, Democrat-Gazette, 04/16/2021