Public Comments for: HB982 - Education Savings Account Program; established.
Last Name: Miller Locality: Loudoun

Vouchers should not be granted in any form to families withdrawing their students from public schools. Withdrawing the funds makes public schools unable to continue quality education. Instead, parents should work with the state and their local schools to change the curriculum. If their objections focus around religious beliefs, curriculum should not be changed at all as the public school should not recognize any religion. Vouchers and school choice do not allow students to have equal access to IEP resources as many are excused from following these. Additionally, not all families have access to an alternate school from public schools, making it even more difficult to state that these educational savings accounts will actually help those needing "safer" schools. Don't defund the public schools.

Last Name: Silberbauer Organization: Powhata Citizens Alliance Locality: Powhatan

We urge you to support HB982. Regardless of the amout of financial benefit to a non-public school parent(s), money supporting school choice in the hands of the taxpayer parent is better than in the hands of bureaucrats.

Last Name: Belchak Locality: Hampton

Homeschoolers support this bill. HB982 is the best school choice bill submitted this session. It would allow parents to choose the best education for their child, and allow the funding to follow the student. This bill will provide education justice. Please pass immediately. Thank you.

Last Name: Woodruff Organization: Home School Legal Defense Association Locality: Purcellville

Home School Legal Defense Association opposes HB 982 because it will authorize government money to flow to home school families. Where government money goes, government control will eventually follow. This bill is a long-term threat to the continued freedom to homeschool. A similar bill is pending in another state, and the state's superintendent of public instruction said: "If we start giving homeschoolers state money, there’s got to be state accountability.” Source: https://www.alreporter.com/2022/02/03/parents-choice-bill-passes-committee-over-concerns-from-critics/

Last Name: Waddell Locality: Suffolk

I am a wife, mother, educator and resident of the city of Suffolk and I oppose these bills (including HB788, which was not on the list) because k-12 vouchers do not improve student outcomes. They take much needed money from public education. Virginia needs to put more money into public education, not less. We are current ranked 41st for per student spending. Our teacher salaries are nowhere near where they should be and we are currently suffering from a teacher shortage. There are numerous studies (Brookings Institute, National Bureau of Economic Research, University of Virginia) that show vouchers do not improve student outcomes. Investing in public schools improves outcomes, graduation and post secondary enrollment. Vote no on these bills. Thank you. Mrs. D. Waddell

Last Name: Bowles Locality: Leesburg

Please vote yes to these bills. Parents should have school choice. There should be resource officers in all schools. The transgender policies should be repealed as it is a safety issue as seen in Loudoun county.

Last Name: Misjuns Locality: Lynchburg

I urge for support of this bill. Lynchburg public schools have been a complete failure during the pandemic to the community, and parents should be able to choose schools that aren’t failing students with their tax dollars when the local public schools are performing so poorly. This will be significant for working class and lower income families who don’t have the resources available to send their children to schools that are actually succeeding when the local public schools aren’t getting the job done for the students.

Last Name: Morris Locality: Bedford

School choice is paramount to providing an equitable education experience for all children in Virginia. No child should be refused an education that meets their needs based on their racial, cultural, or socioeconomic background.

Last Name: Horst Locality: Lynchburg

I speak in support of this bill. Educational savings accounts managed by the Department of Education are a good first step in allowing parents to decide where their child should go to school. This bill in no way undermines the educational opportunities of families who choose to send their children to public school while offering parents who decide to place their children in private school or to homeschool their children, greater financial and educational flexibility. If the Commonwealth of Virginia will continue to require taxpayers to fund education, the taxpayers should be allowed to decide where their children attend school, and that money should follow the students to the place of their education, be it public, private, or homeschool.

Last Name: Parks Locality: Albemarle County

I write in support of educational savings account. HB 982 is more inclusive than HB 1024/1025 because it eliminates the requirement that students be enrolled in public school for the two semesters prior to accessing the funds. Many children, particularly those with special educational needs, have already exited the public school system because the schools could not provide them with an an adequate and free public education. These parents are under a great deal of stress trying to either school these children at home or pay for private education. Many states have already successfully implemented school choice programs, and it is time for Virginia to follow suit. When doing so, the Virginia state legislature should take care to include ALL students, including those who have already left the system.

Last Name: Moschella Locality: Midlothiam

I urge the support of HB 982. While it has always been an option for parents to homeschool or send their children to private school, the time and/or cost of doing so is prohibitive for most families. At the January 25th Chesterfield County school board meeting, Kathryn Haines (representing my district of Midlothian) stated (in response to parent choice in masking children): “Parental Rights Act prevents the State from interfering with how a parent educates their child. A parent can homeschool, choose private school, or get a religious exemption – period. The State has no control over a parent’s right to monitor the education of their kids. The Parental Rights Act does not, however, give parents the power to control the operations of the school.” Whether true or not, her comments implied that parents should simply choose to get with the program or make another choice. This is arrogant and condescending. It ignores the fact that the vast majority of parents do not have the time or financial resources to make one of those choices. Now, more than ever it is nearly impossible for families to live on one income, allowing for a parent to stay home and educate the children. There are also more single parent households and families who, regardless of how many family members are working, cannot afford alternative options. In short, our children are held hostage by the public school system. Just like the electric and water utilities know you have nowhere else to go – the public education system may do what it wishes and have little to no recourse. Each of us pay a considerable amount in taxes, which in part goes towards education. The average spent each year per child in Virginia public schools is over $12,000. With just half that amount, a child can be almost fully funded in a private school. Half of that amount or less can fully fund three or more children in a complete homeschool curriculum. I know because I’ve done the research for my own family. Choice and competition encourage innovation and excellence, monopolies do the opposite. Our public schools will only be made better by having to truly compete with private and home education options. Students will in turn benefit by having an education best suited for them chosen by their parents - regardless of socioeconomic status. It is time for true freedom in education!

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