Democrats in Congress have put Washington, D.C., school officials on notice to prepare for the end of its voucher program.
The Opportunity Scholarships program was established in 2004, and currently provides annual scholarships of up to $7,500 for about 1,700 underprivileged students to attend private schools from kindergarten through 12th grade.
According to The New York Times, a spending bill passed by the House this week included language that the vouchers would “only be available upon enactment of reauthorization of that program by Congress and the adoption of legislation by the District of Columbia approving such re-authorization.”
Also, the bill requires that no new students be added to the voucher program, and warned that D.C. school officials should be prepared to enroll voucher students back into the public school system after the 2009-10 school year.
Washington's voucher program is the only federally financed program in the country.
Rep. Howard McKeon of California told the Times that the language in the spending bill is “a stealth provision to eliminate the scholarship program” because it would be impossible to get enough votes in Congress and the District of Columbia Council to renew the program.
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