ABOVE: Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp delivers the State of the State address on the House floor of the state Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Alex Slitz)
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) has gone on the record for the first time, publicly endorsing state Senate Bill 233 which would expand state funding for private school vouchers or homeschooling.
The measure would provide a $6,500 annual voucher for each student. It is currently in the Georgia House of Representatives.
During an interview with News 95.5 and AM 750 WSB's Erick Erickson, Kemp called the Senate bill "a good bill" and said, "I've has been a strong supporter of school choice over the years."
"I'm hopeful that we can get this over the finish line," Kemp said. "I think they've really done a good job of legislating. They've also listened to a lot of the critics that are out there and taken some of their suggestions about accountability and other things."
"It's just got to get the votes in the House, and I feel like they'll be able to do that," the second-term governor added.
Georgia lawmakers have feuded for more than a decade about allowing taxpayers to use their own taxpayer dollars on private education, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Advocates of the bill, mostly Republican lawmakers, have championed SB 233 which would give families $6,500 per student in order to give more options to parents. If a student's parents choose a private school or homeschool their child, the state would deduct from the public school's funding for that student.
Opponents of the bill say the vouchers would damage local schools and that the solution is to invest even more money in public schools, the Atlanta newspaper reported.
Senate Bill 233 is similar to legislation that has failed in Georgia in prior years, according to the outlet.
Jason Bedrick, a research fellow with The Heritage Foundation's Center for Education Policy recently noted in an op-ed published by The Daily Signal that "the bill would create K-12 education savings accounts worth $6,500 annually that families could use to pay for private school tuition, tutoring, textbooks, homeschool curriculum, online courses, special-needs therapy, and more. With education savings accounts, families are empowered with the freedom and flexibility to customize their child's education."
The measure has stalled in the Georgia House but could get a vote before time runs out Wednesday.
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