Ga.’s back-door voucher program riddled with deception

From its inception, Georgia’s tax-funded private-school “scholarship” program has been shrouded in deception and guile. Its champions have misled the public and state legislators about the purpose of the program, how it would function and who it would benefit, and they continue to mislead today.

Yet with state money tight and public schools struggling just to stay open the traditional 180 days, defenders of the scholarship program want to double the size of the program to $100 million a year.

I have a better idea: If the program can’t be made open and accountable, with demonstrable evidence that it is serving those it was created to help, it ought to be abolished altogether.

Let’s take a minute to review how the program works: As a Georgia taxpayer or corporation, when you contribute a dollar to a private-school scholarship program, an offsetting dollar is deducted directly from your state tax bill. For example, if you have a state tax bill of $2,500 and donate $2,500 for a scholarship, your tax bill falls to zero. Since 2008, the program has diverted more than $170 million of state tax revenue to private schools.

According to its supporters, the program was supposed to help finance private-school scholarships for poor children stuck in underperforming public schools. Oddly, though, the law contained no means-testing for recipients, and it quickly became obvious why. The program was a scam. Once it was passed, supporters started openly pitching the program as a means for affluent parents of children already in private school to arrange a state tax subsidy.

“You can take this chunk of money and be able to say, “No, I want this money to go to education, and not just education, I want it to go to the school of my choice, and maybe even more detailed, (to) the student of my choice,” one legislator told parents.

The question of accountability is also critical. Public schools face increasing and understandable demands to be accountable for their use of tax money and their effectiveness. Students face required standardized testing; teacher evaluations are mandated; school districts are losing autonomy to the state. State officials may even strip members of DeKalb County School Board from office for failing to do their jobs properly.

So what accountability is being required from private schools accepting tax money? None. As in literally, none. We have no idea what kind of education our $170 million in tax money has provided. We have no idea who is getting the scholarships. In fact, in 2011 legislators passed a law making it a crime to release any information about the inner workings of the program.

It makes no sense: Why require increasingly minute oversight of public school dollars, while at the same time mandating willful, total blindness to how taxpayer dollars are being spent in a private setting?

In addition, much of the money is being used to subsidize schools that freely acknowledge that they discriminate against students and parents on the basis of religion. Taxpayer money should not be used in that fashion. As the Southern Education Foundation recently pointed out, those state tax dollars are also being used to subsidize schools that refuse to serve gay students or in some cases even bar students who dare to support gay rights for others.

At Providence Christian Academy near Lilburn, for example, students can be expelled or barred for “promoting, supporting, or condoning … homosexual activity or bisexual activity,” a policy that presumably would also bar the children of gay parents from attending or receiving a scholarship.

As a private institution, the folks at Providence Christian and other schools have every right to maintain that policy. Having such policies subsidized by the taxpayer is another matter entirely. If such discrimination wouldn’t be tolerated in a public school financed with taxpayer money, why should it be tolerated in a private school that is also financed with taxpayer money?

On Monday, SEF officials submitted a complaint to the state Department of Revenue that documents in great detail multiple, widespread, blatant and continuing violations of state law regarding the scholarship program. (The full complaint is available here; it makes convincing reading.) It will be interesting to see what, if anything, comes of it.

– Jay Bookman

507 comments Add your comment

Keep Up the Good Fight!

January 30th, 2013
8:04 am

Tax dollars being spent without accountability? So where are the cons yelling about waste, fraud and failures while the state GOP implements this insanity.

stands for decibels

January 30th, 2013
8:06 am

“You can take this chunk of money and be able to say, “No, I want this money to go to education, and not just education, I want it to go to the school of my choice, and maybe even more detailed, (to) the student of my choice,” one legislator told parents.

Just a reminder–GA has, for years, provided a perfectly legitimate tax-deductible “Path2College” 529 plan to help parents save for tuition expenses. That’s as far as any “help” to private schools should ever go.

This is, as Jay correctly notes, a scam.

godless heathen - owner of many things he does not need

January 30th, 2013
8:10 am

THIS SUCKS!

Here I am yelling about it.

Just more use of the tax codes in nefarious ways. Use of public money for the benefit of a few is wrong, no matter who does it.

Brosephus™

January 30th, 2013
8:12 am

It will be interesting to see what, if anything, comes of it.

Nothing will. Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but these corrupt politicians wrote that law exactly as they wanted it to operate. They’re not going to change a thing.

Thomas Heyward Jr

January 30th, 2013
8:17 am

“You can take this chunk of money and be able to say, “No, I want this money to go to education, and not just education, I want it to go to the school of my choice, and maybe even more detailed, (to) the student of my choice,”
.
Choice………………………….That’s cool with me.

Thomas Heyward Jr

January 30th, 2013
8:18 am

And it’s the decent thing to do.

Common Sense isn't very Common

January 30th, 2013
8:20 am

Bro

Did anyone here in their RIGHT mind think this wasn’t a scam?

:-)

DannyX

January 30th, 2013
8:21 am

“Choice………………………….That’s cool with me.”

So if that is the goal why not be honest? Why all the deception and secrecy?

What a great “Christian” example this program is setting!

stands for decibels

January 30th, 2013
8:21 am

Here I am yelling about it.

and GH, that’s why I love you.

(in a spiritual way, not in a David Brooks/Lindsay Graham/Chris Matthews physical way. NTTAWWT.)

Common Sense isn't very Common

January 30th, 2013
8:22 am

ANY PARENT that wants their child to go to a PRIVATE SCHOOL always had that choice.

Mine made the sacrifice to send me, MAN up you leeches

GT

January 30th, 2013
8:22 am

The state of Georgia is like an alcoholic. It can’t afford highways or Hope but can struggle out of bed for purpose of segregation. Religion in some parts of the country is a code word for discrimination.

If they clean up this state and made it livable we might attract the business that pay taxes instead of soak the state and leave us broker than we were before they came like Kia. We do everything we can to stay in the gutter and then try to blame it on the rest of the world. A void of leadership, a lack of will, an isolated society.

stands for decibels

January 30th, 2013
8:23 am

Why all the deception and secrecy?

Remember that “Freedom for me, but not for thee” thingie I posted downstairs?

Common Sense isn't very Common

January 30th, 2013
8:23 am

sfd

I am seeing a kinda ’stuck in the feeling’ with you and GH j/k

LOL

Cherokee

January 30th, 2013
8:23 am

Thanks for your comments Jay, but as Bro says, nothing will change. The legislators who support this know it’s a dishonest scam, but they don’t care.

DannyX

January 30th, 2013
8:24 am

“Mine made the sacrifice to send me, MAN up you leeches”

:-)

This is an example of the entitlement crowd. They are leeches that want everything for FREE! I’ll bet the parents even shop at Whole Foods!

Common Sense isn't very Common

January 30th, 2013
8:26 am

Danny

with their EBT cards no less :-)

indigo

January 30th, 2013
8:27 am

Republican politicians want a huge number of Christian Academys to spring up all over Gerogia. This will satisfy their fundamentalist base since these “adademys” will teach the following:

1. The Earth is 6,000 years old.
2. Men and dinosaurs walked together.
3. Evolution and astromony are liberal tools of the devil.
4. The New Testament is the proven word of God.
5. God will bless only the Republican Party.

You may wonder why our elected officials are willing to lie, cheat and mislead to get these academys.

So that they can continue to get those votes, of course.

Brosephus™

January 30th, 2013
8:28 am

Did anyone here in their RIGHT mind think this wasn’t a scam?

I was about to get snarky, but you did put that friggin’ qualifier “RIGHT” in that question. That said, I can’t think of anybody who meets that criteria that didn’t see this as a scam.

:)

Common Sense isn't very Common

January 30th, 2013
8:29 am

Time to go to work so I can support you LAZY BLOGGERS, especially those on the Gov’t dole Bro :-)

Dwoody

January 30th, 2013
8:29 am

This is the “Holy Grail” of many Turbo-Christians in Georgia (pun intended).

It infuriates them to pay the school portion of their property taxes while not directly benefiting, as they either send their kids to Private School or Home-School. To Hell with our need to educate the masses.

They will yell and scream about people not paying enough taxes, yet they love their little carve out because lets face it, religious schools are “Good”, and “Good” things (like themselves and their little re-education camps) need to be protected!

godless heathen - owner of many things he does not need

January 30th, 2013
8:30 am

and GH, that’s why I love you.

I even writ my local rep about it, but since I’m not a big $$$ donor, I doubt my opinion meant much.

Thomas Heyward Jr

January 30th, 2013
8:31 am

As per Bookman………a trillion dollars of tax money going to Banks(TARP) or billions of dollars of tax money going to GM is cool…………….but not to schools?
.
This Does not compute.

And, just what is the difference...

January 30th, 2013
8:33 am

…in this scenario and what Obuma’s policies are doing to the rest of the population?

Jay, I can’t believe that you wrote on a topic that is so apropo regarding Obuma’s policies and the class who like to take, take, take – thanks for having a conservative view on something!

DannyX

January 30th, 2013
8:34 am

“Nothing will. Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but these corrupt politicians wrote that law exactly as they wanted it to operate.”

Brosephus, just summarized the whole scam. When they debate the increase in funding that will double the amount of tax credits available they will deflect. They will only talk about how this program is so good for poor children that normally wouldn’t have the means to attend private school. They won’t offer any proof that this program is doing what it is supposed to. They might as well name it the Wink, Wink bill. Everyone knows its a scam. They will get the funding, it will pass.

GT

January 30th, 2013
8:35 am

The real collateral damage is the Christian faith. They have genetically changed the word of God, the teaching of Jesus, taken their place so to speak. God in their movie would be played by Jackie Gleason, a sheriff, on the take, telling all they are in a heap of trouble. Jesus would be a slicked down version of Ralph Reed with the Rolex shining in the glory of the Lord.

The biggest industry in Georgia is political crooks. You can’t tax crooks no more than we seem to be able to tax any other recruited industry we entertain in this state. I imagine that is another leak in the state budget of 100s of millions of dollars.

Peadawg

January 30th, 2013
8:37 am

I keep saying it over and over…

IF YOU WANT YOUR KID TO GO TO PRIVATE SCHOOL THEN PAY FOR IT YOURSELF

DannyX

January 30th, 2013
8:37 am

Well of course. The secrecy and deception of this scam is all Obama’s fault. I just knew it!

Dwoody

January 30th, 2013
8:40 am

Sorry everyone. I’ve just re-evaluated my position and am in favor of this program. I believe this is an efficient way to educate our children. No money will be wasted on biology, geology, or chemistry text books. No need for costly science labs, Bunsen burners, or Union Thug physics teachers.

Students will be considered science literate after a 20 minute reading of the Book of Genesis.

alex

January 30th, 2013
8:40 am

Simple question, what’s the benefit of paying taxes to the state for a public education, if the parent chooses to send their child to a private school, it seems to me that the “tax break” may be appropriate if the parent does not make use of something they are being forced to pay….I agree that some sort of evaluation of the education would and is necesary, but following Jay one must consider “the rest of the story”…
@GT, “segregation and discrimination, same old bigotry rubbish, move on man, Jay’s article implied nothing of the sort , nor would it be acceptable…

RB from Gwinnett

January 30th, 2013
8:42 am

“Tax dollars being spent without accountability? So where are the cons yelling about waste, fraud and failures while the state GOP implements this insanity”

Here!!!

The problem you liberals have is you think conservatives are ok with abuse in programs we like. We don’t. Period. I guess you get that impression because you’re ok with it or something???? The bottom line is, bigger government breeds fraud and abuse regardless of the program because none of them are spending money they’re responsible for either earning or defending. They have no competition that forces them to be efficient so they can justify 15 people to do the jobs of 10 when all of them are only working half the day.

You all know this is true, but you keep growing and growing and growing the government as if it either doesn’t matter or you don’t care because King Obama keeps promising to make somebody else pay all the bills.

Morality?

January 30th, 2013
8:43 am

Jay just doesn’t like the private sector being he’s a left wing gub’ment man. Can I ask you ONE question Jay? What kind of shape are the gub’ment run Atlanta city schools in with those dishonest cheating teachers and why are those teachers still on the job?

straitroad

January 30th, 2013
8:45 am

Jay, I agree that this is a bad idea and I thought so from the beginning. This is being used for athletics instead of academics. If parents want to send their kids to private school, they must make that sacrifice and not expect the taxpayer to foot the bill.

Thomas Heyward Jr

January 30th, 2013
8:45 am

“Why require increasingly minute oversight of public school dollars, while at the same time mandating willful, total blindness to how taxpayer dollars are being spent in a private setting?”
.
Wouldn’t that be up to the parents who ACTUALLY paid money to the school?
I doubt that the parents of a child are blind to how their money is being spent…….but then again………to a prog……….only the State is qualified to oversee how money is spent.
.
lol

kayaker 71

January 30th, 2013
8:45 am

Bookman doesn’t provide us with the number of disadvantaged students who benefit from this program. It’s all them white Bible thumpers who are scamming the system and discriminating against them gay people. Also, would Bookman like to provide us with the number of GA taxpayers that are “taking advantage” of everyone by taking tax credits in this manner? There is a funny feeling running up my leg that tells me that we are only, as usual, getting half the story.

GT

January 30th, 2013
8:46 am

With the right it is always someone else’s fault. The only clever stuff they come up with is the deception of their hate, like blind trust contributing to political candidates in as large a denomination as they please, so they can set the political stage to steal more money.

They complain about the meal but never cook one themselves. They eat but never bring to the party. And when the food is all gone they blame it on the preparers of that food.

[...] Read more. [...]

DannyX

January 30th, 2013
8:46 am

“@GT, “segregation and discrimination, same old bigotry rubbish, move on man, Jay’s article implied nothing of the sort , nor would it be acceptable…”

Here’s your problem alex, you have nothing to back up your post. If the program was open for all to see you could use data to back up your claim but you can’t. Why all the secrecy? What do they need to hide?

“Move on man” is not a valid defense.

retiredds

January 30th, 2013
8:47 am

Republicans? Deception? Please tell me it is not true.

Morality?

January 30th, 2013
8:47 am

This Fed gub’ment is like a cancer in phase IV …….. out of control and killing the FISCAL future of the USA. Remove the cancer and start chemo before it’s to late. Use experimental rugs if you have to. Obama quit wasting time on your pet projects and FINALLY do something about the ever growing cancer known as the Fed debt. You weren’t hired to do nothing.

Soothsayer

January 30th, 2013
8:48 am

DannyX

January 30th, 2013
8:48 am

“Bookman doesn’t provide us with the number of disadvantaged students who benefit from this program.”

Why don’t you share the information with us, kayaker?

Keep Up the Good Fight!

January 30th, 2013
8:48 am

godless, glad to hear you. Perhaps if more join in, especially conservatives who elect these officials, to demand accountability and to end this black hole, something can be done. Unfortunately looks like you may be a lonely conservative on this.

This is one of those circumstances where groups like the ACLU and others are needed to stop the indirect subterfuge funding in violation of our constitutional rights. Will Gov Deal call for tax audits and penalties for those who violate tax laws?

Paul

January 30th, 2013
8:48 am

“much of the money is being used to subsidize schools that freely acknowledge that they discriminate against students and parents on the basis of religion. ”

Complain to the State Dept of Internal Revenue? Sound like a good lawsuit case to me.

““You can take this chunk of money and be able to say, “No, I want this money to go to education, and not just education, I want it to go to the school of my choice, and maybe even more detailed, (to) the student of my choice,”
.
Choice………………………….That’s cool with me.”

Trolling or serious? It’s difficult to tell with you, Thomas Heyward Jr

So you’d be fine with a couple hundred million tax dollars diverted to schools that barred those professing the Christian faith or who barred those those who practice only heterosexual unions or sexual partners, right?

Peadawg 8″37

I wonder if those mid-to-upper income folks consider themselves ‘takers’?

Thomas Heyward Jr

January 30th, 2013
8:48 am

Peadawg

January 30th, 2013
8:37 am

I keep saying it over and over…

IF YOU WANT YOUR KID TO GO TO PRIVATE SCHOOL THEN PAY FOR IT YOURSELF
—————————————————————————-
.
It seems as if that is what THEY”RE DOING.
.
lol

Paul

January 30th, 2013
8:50 am

RB

“the problem you liberals have is you think conservatives are ok with abuse in programs we like. We don’t. Period. I guess you get that impression because you’re ok with it or something????”

How about liberals think that about conservatives because cons never include such items in their laundry list of waste and abuse by government? It’s always ‘food stamps, Medicare, unemployment, Big Bird…”

Jay scooped TMZ and Deadspin

January 30th, 2013
8:52 am

Yup, it’s those dang Republican’s kids grabbing all the money, again. They are like Scrooge McDuck, rolling in the $$$ that lines the halls of all their private schools. Once again, Jay busted them. So much for the annual report showing EXACTLY where the money goes.
2011 GOAL Report

Below 24K income= 58 %
24k-36K=22%
36K-48K= 11%
48K and above= Less than 9%
http://www.goalscholarship.org/docLib/20121126_GOALResultsAt112012forWebsite.pdf

Paul

January 30th, 2013
8:52 am

Thomas H jr

“Wouldn’t that be up to the parents who ACTUALLY paid money to the school?”

You’re speaking of public schools, correct? So are you for abolishing all accountability testing, teacher reviews, etc done by the state? ‘Cause parents should monitor all that?

Morality?

January 30th, 2013
8:52 am

Key stuck – meant to say EXPERIMENTAL DRUGS. GT – if you want to talk about preparing food go to foodchannel.com.

F. Sinkwich

January 30th, 2013
8:54 am

“If the program can’t be made open and accountable, with demonstrable evidence that it is serving those it was created to help, it ought to be abolished altogether.”

How conservative of you, Jay. Too bad lib ilks have such a poor record of doing exactly that.

How many “Save the Children” and “Old People Preservation” Acts have been passed into law that never ever have to pass any such test? Tons.

As soon as someone (usually conservative) points out how wasteful and ineffective any of these programs are, he is demonized by Dems as hating children and the elderly.

So taxpayers can direct their own money to education programs they support? That’s a “Taxpayer Support Act.” You must hate taxpayers. Tsk tsk.

Thomas Heyward Jr

January 30th, 2013
8:54 am

Paul——-
.
Choice………………………….That’s cool with me.”

Trolling or serious? It’s difficult to tell with you, Thomas Heyward Jr

So you’d be fine with a couple hundred million tax dollars diverted to schools that barred those professing the Christian faith or who barred those those who practice only heterosexual unions or sexual partners, right?
—————————————————————————————————————————————–
.
If the couple hundred million dollars was MY taxmoney that I VOLUNTARILY paid …………….and I believed in whatever curriculum……..then YES…….I would be fine with it.
.
What part of “choice” do you NOT understand.
No amount of Bookman’s nor YOUR tax money will be going to a private school.
.
Am I getting something wrong here?

Jay

January 30th, 2013
8:55 am

““Bookman doesn’t provide us with the number of disadvantaged students who benefit from this program…. Also, would Bookman like to provide us with the number of GA taxpayers that are “taking advantage” of everyone by taking tax credits in this manner? There is a funny feeling running up my leg that tells me that we are only, as usual, getting half the story.”

That’s because — as pointed out in the column — the state has made release of such data a crime. Now why would they do such a thing? As kayaker himself implies, such info would be useful in assessing the effectiveness of the program. Yet the state has gone to great lengths to ensure we don’t see it.

So kayaker, why do you think that is?

Keep Up the Good Fight!

January 30th, 2013
8:55 am

RB, did you bother to read the linked report about how state GOP has made it a crime to report information regarding this black hole program….. Your ODS is a plank in your eye. But nice rant.

Paul

January 30th, 2013
8:55 am

Soothsayer

“GOOD! Now she and I don’t have to sneak around any more! ”

Saw her on a late-night talk show recently. I thought her repeated use of ‘forsooth!” was a weird affectation. NOW I know it was really two words while she was thinking about you, you sly hound dog, you1

Morality?

January 30th, 2013
8:55 am

“Riddled with Deception.”……. reminds me of the Obama regime. So gub’ment just “riddles deceptionally on.” —— that’s how gub’ment has been Jay for the last 50 years.

DannyX

January 30th, 2013
8:57 am

”“the problem you liberals have is you think conservatives are ok with abuse in programs we like. We don’t. Period. I guess you get that impression because you’re ok with it or something????”

Right rb, last week the issue was Chip Rogers’ $150,000 GPB scam. You conservatives just give off the wrong impression, its all a big misunderstanding!

Morality?

January 30th, 2013
8:57 am

TERM LIMITS for Congress to remove the gub’ment riddled with deception.

Thomas Heyward Jr

January 30th, 2013
8:58 am

Paul

January 30th, 2013
8:52 am

Thomas H jr

“Wouldn’t that be up to the parents who ACTUALLY paid money to the school?”

You’re speaking of public schools, correct? So are you for abolishing all accountability testing, teacher reviews, etc done by the state? ‘Cause parents should monitor all that?
—————————————————————————————
.
No..I was not speaking of public schools.
I was countering Bookman’s claim that private schools have no accountability.
Just because the State is not involved doesn’t mean that there is no accountability.
.
see free market.
It’s MUCH more effective.

Pancake

January 30th, 2013
8:58 am

Little (do as I say not as I do) Barry’s back in Vegas after lecturing the corporate CEO’s not to do so. This is real leadership from the top on down. The state’s are just pancakes after all the fed BS rolls downhill to their level.

UNCLE SAMANTHA

January 30th, 2013
8:58 am

WHY WOULD ANYONE WANT TO BYPASS THE SCHOOL SYSTEM???????

Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal
DeKalb County Schools’ accreditation placed on probation
New indictment may be handed down in DeKalb school scandal
Accreditation troubles for Clayton County Schools?

those darn republicans should be ashamed for what they have done to those school systems

Dumb and Dumber

January 30th, 2013
8:58 am

Good article, although I can see the complete ignorance of our tax code dripping in the comments (just keep voting Democrat, don’t worry, it will all work out). Someone mentioned 529 plans, that’s for college and you take “after tax” dollars and invest them and the earnings-if any-(if applied to qualifying educational expenses at college level) are not taxed. Georgia GOAL does nothing for the taxpayer. I pay $2,500 into the fund, my taxes go down $2500 at the state level. I’m even, no benefit to me whatsoever. Whether there are machinations going on behind the scene (heck, in plain sight/darkness) of how the money is actually used by the schools, that’s a different subject. It should be afforded exactly the same scrutiny as payments to non existent vendors, fraudulent doctors/medical practices, payments to dead people (who live at vacant lots, PO Boxes, and still find ways to vote, etc.). Every government program involves some sort of waste/fraud, it is a given.

DannyX

January 30th, 2013
8:58 am

“Am I getting something wrong here?”

Yes, Thomas, everything.

Union

January 30th, 2013
8:58 am

you atlanta folks be safe and keep your head down today.. dont want anything to happen to the people i so enjoy debating with.

Soothsayer

January 30th, 2013
8:59 am

Paul: she was supposed to keep it on the “down low!”

Ronald Reagan Parkway

January 30th, 2013
9:01 am

All of this on Nathan Deal’s watch….who would have thought that the most ethically challenged Governor of this great state would have this type of problem? After all, he did make changes to the Hope Scholarship and placed a trick Charter School Amendment on the ballot in November. You get what you vote for Georgia.

DannyX

January 30th, 2013
9:02 am

“Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal
DeKalb County Schools’ accreditation placed on probation
New indictment may be handed down in DeKalb school scandal
Accreditation troubles for Clayton County Schools?”

Can you tell us what percentage of students in those areas are benefiting from this program Uncle Samantha?

Whoops, no you can’t, the information is secret!

Just as I claimed earlier, the supporters of this program will make all these glorious claims with nothing to back them up with.

Morality?

January 30th, 2013
9:03 am

X – Congress is all about getting elected, staying elected, retiring to a fat pension and getting a job getting richer in D.C. Jammy Codder has been a resident of D.C. for near 50 years – lot’s more payoff there . He just returns to Plains for photo ops. A little deception on the state level is just intern work for the next level – Congress & the Prezidency.

Paul

January 30th, 2013
9:03 am

Thomas

“If the couple hundred million dollars was MY taxmoney that I VOLUNTARILY paid …………….and I believed in whatever curriculum……..then YES…….I would be fine with it.
.
What part of “choice” do you NOT understand.”

” Am I getting something wrong here?”

I think so. Jay’s thread and my question had to do with DIVERSION of funds. When the question is framed in context of going to institutions that prohibit Christians or heterosexuals, you switch to ‘your’ money that you ‘voluntarily’ paid.

Same thing’s happening with the ‘choice’ schools. So let’s rephrase and get the concept: are you okay with the state diverting or ‘taking tax money voluntarily paid (HEY! since when are tax contributions VOLUNTARY?) and giving it to private schools that prohibit Christians or straights from attending?

Brosephus™

January 30th, 2013
9:03 am

Bookman doesn’t provide us with the number of disadvantaged students who benefit from this program.

Hell, the program sponsors and the legislators who wrote the laws can’t provide you with that number either. The legislation was purposefully written to be as big of a loophole as possible with as little enforcement or transparency as possible. Don’t blame Bookman for the shenanigans of the Georgia GOP.

Lance in Carrollton

January 30th, 2013
9:04 am

My main problem with the school choice program is that rather than improving the community that a child lives in, parents simply move the student to another community. Where is the civic pride that once thrived in this country? If the school where a child goes to is not up to standard, why not fix it? This is the community where you live! If the school graduates people not prepared to survive in the world, they will be your neighbors. This concept is good in theory, move a child away from a low-performing school. But, I can tell you as an educator, teachers do the best they can with what we have. There is a direct correllation with parental involvement and student success.

UNCLE SAMANTHA

January 30th, 2013
9:04 am

so taxpayer money SHOULDN’T go to organizations that believe against homosexuality………… but it SHOULD go to organizations that promote underage sexual activity and abortions

HMMMMMMM

Thulsa Doom

January 30th, 2013
9:04 am

“I doubt that the parents of a child are blind to how their money is being spent…….but then again………to a prog……….only the State is qualified to oversee how money is spent.”

True. Its a mystery as to how the kook liberal mind works. They seem to think a gubment bureaucrat who has no stake in the child’s educational outcome and who has little or no accountability if he is wrong, is more qualified to see how money is spent on a kid’s education than the parent of the kid. And the parent of the kid can directly see whether or not the kid is getting a good education for the money being spent. How it is that liberals can’t understand this difference in direct accountability is nothing short of mind boggling.

Choice- a word that liberals hate- cept in abortion.

Thomas Heyward Jr

January 30th, 2013
9:05 am

DannyX

January 30th, 2013
8:58 am

“Am I getting something wrong here?”

Yes, Thomas, everything.
————————————————————-
.
Hey Danny boi————–
Does your tax money go to paying for abortions?
.
I rest my case.

Tom da bomb

January 30th, 2013
9:06 am

I believe the legislator who was advising parents on how to benefit from this scam was Rep. David Casas, a Gwinnett County Republican.

Paul

January 30th, 2013
9:07 am

Thomas H jr

“No..I was not speaking of public schools. I was countering Bookman’s claim that private schools have no accountability.Just because the State is not involved doesn’t mean that there is noaccountability.”

Let’s try this again.

Why are you okay with state oversight of publicly-funded schools run by the state but not with state oversight of publicly-funded schools run by a corporation?

or

Why are you for only parental oversight of publicly-funded schools run by corporations but not for publicly-funded schools run by the government?

Morality?

January 30th, 2013
9:08 am

Jay – When the “graduates” of public schools learn to read, write and do simple math we won’t need any alternative schools – social promotion ruined public schools. Now they want to give them all something for nothing and just get them gradeated….. since we now have “educators” and very few real TEACHERS in the ATLANTA school system.

UNCLE SAMANTHA

January 30th, 2013
9:08 am

kinda like adopt a mile…………. we take your money
what!!!!!!!!
kkk adopt a mile…………
no………… you cann’t

what!!!!!!!
courts say you can’t deny them because you don’t like or believe what they say

why not…………. only MY view is correct………. we are above the law because we are RIGHT

Jay

January 30th, 2013
9:08 am

SCOOPED, that report was issued by GOAL, one of the seven organizations approved to accept and distribute the scholarship funds and the only one to be transparent and to make an apparent effort to abide by the intent of the legislation. Thanks for bringing that up.

Look before I leap...

January 30th, 2013
9:10 am

Jay,

Gotta question here:
If I pay 10K/yr to send my kid to the Bonny Meadow Intelligent Design Academy and I contribute 5K to their scholarship program, can I specify that the 5K goes to a scholarship that benefits my kid? In other words, is Bonny Meadow going to give me a discount of 5K (and I get my corresponding tax break)?

RB from Gwinnett

January 30th, 2013
9:10 am

Paul, “How about liberals think that about conservatives because cons never include such items in their laundry list of waste and abuse by government? ”

Don’t overlook “scale”, Paul. This program doesn’t hold a candle to the ones you listed and most people don’t major in the minors.

alex

January 30th, 2013
9:10 am

@ Danny, I have nothing to back up as I did not initially accuse the program of discrimination in the first place, GT did, read his post. Herein lies the problem you and GT go into this discussion with the bias that there must be a racial bias, I do not. You choose to confirm your bias by your unfounded statements. I do not. I do not know the program but do NOT apriori assumes that it is discriminatory, I am not a bigot , you and GT are. simple explanation. You and GT do this all the time and to a greater or lesser degree we all have our biases, mine happen to be different from yours. Jay is biases against anything that smacks of conservative philosophical approach, I am biased against stupidity, mine and yours…..relax.

skipper

January 30th, 2013
9:11 am

I am not for “scams”, but folks would (and should) be willing to do about anything to keep their kids out of a system like Dekalb. Not a single company owner is going to move here and put his kids in an inner city school. Part of the problem (and the elephant in the room) is that nobody will truthfully discuss the issues. Of course poverty is a major problem. However the inner-city culture has taken root, and instead of acknowledgement and discussion, if you point this out “race-race-race” is the one and only thing where the blame gets placed. Did it ever occur to anyone that the cluster that is Dekalb is not gonna improve much in the next ten or more years? APS, with the exception of some of the outer-fringe locations, is a cluster. Call it what you will, and I am not sure what the solution is, but sacrificing your kids to this mess for the sake of political correctness is not going to educate them properly.

Paul

January 30th, 2013
9:11 am

Morality?

“When the “graduates” of public schools learn to read, write and do simple math we won’t need any alternative schools ”

Have you evidence that attendees of Georgia’s private schools receiving the tax dollars do a superior job in this regard?

Thomas Heyward Jr

January 30th, 2013
9:11 am

Paul————
.
See my 9:05.
You could destroy the conservative arguement by mentioning tax-payer abortions…..but it’s not possible because you claim that tax-payer money doens NOT pay for abortions.(as per the ridiculous arguement of Planned Parenthood.)
.
Ya’ll strolled right into the progressive statist logic trap.
.
lol

DannyX

January 30th, 2013
9:12 am

“Hey Danny boi————–
Does your tax money go to paying for abortions?”

Thomas H, I want a tax credit that pays for them. I also want a tax credit for Muslim schools. I want a tax credit for a Spanish only school. Hey its my money! I want a tax credit to open The Black Panther School. No amount of your money will be used!

Jay

January 30th, 2013
9:12 am

Really, Morality?

I personally know quite a few very fine teachers working in the Atlanta Public Schools system. Some of them helped to provide my two daughters an excellent education that helped them get into two of the most competitive universities in the country and to now excel in their chosen fields.

St Simons - aboriginal

January 30th, 2013
9:12 am

Things you will learn if you go to a sneaky back door
for-profit-jaysuss-rode-the-dinosaur scam (refuse to call it a school) –

http://wonkette.com/481709/louisiana-thinks-funding-school-run-by-apostle-and-prophet-is-somehow-constitutional

the very FIRST thing we do when the sane people get back in
charge (if we haven’t moved to key west by then), is draw, quarter,
scalp (heheh), and gut this travesty, and flush it like like the
excrement it is.

Dwoody

January 30th, 2013
9:13 am

@Dumb and Dumber,

You are correct from a personal standpoint. Lets say your income incurred a $2500 dollar tax bill to the State. You contribute $2500 to the fund and you are still out of pocket $2500, no problem. Remember though, this program enables you to “elect” where your tax dollars are spent specifically. Your ‘election” removes this $2500 from the general funds needed to run the State (State Troopers, roads, University system, Medicaid etc.). Worse, the private schools can teach what they wish using your money that should instead be going to Georgia to pay for day-today operations.

TBone

January 30th, 2013
9:13 am

So you are worried about accountability now. I think anyone that knows anything about education knows your student will recieve a better eduction at a private school than a government run school. But you’re concerned about using tax payer money here? I thought all along the liberal mindset was hey we are cruising on the the Titanic so we might as well go first class.

Morality?

January 30th, 2013
9:14 am

Jay – When the Repubs reach the slimy “skill level” of the King Roy reign I will become concerned but they are like in day school compared to the damage King Roy and his henchman Tom Murphy did to this state. You can rant and whine on about the Repubs and play the “white ole men” RACE CARD on them but the people of Georgia will never forget the arrogance and. ineptness of King Roy Barnes. Speak about “white ole men” – that describes King Roy & Tom Murphy from the big gub’ment LEFT.

Paul

January 30th, 2013
9:15 am

RB

And on the state level that applies? So when have you and others cited this in your laundry list when speaking of waste in Georgia imposed by liberals?

Dumb and dumber

” I pay $2,500 into the fund, my taxes go down $2500 at the state level. I’m even, no benefit to me whatsoever. ”

Actually, you are $2500 ahead. That money was going to be out of your pocket in taxes. You’ve spent $2500 and you received an ADDITIONAL benefit worth $2500 that you would have had to lay out an additional $2500 to receive if the current tax law was not in effect.

kayaker 71

January 30th, 2013
9:15 am

The GA state scholarship program was passed under GA state bill 1133 in 2008. There are certain rules under this bill that apply to tax deductions by individuals. The max on tax credit exemptions for individuals is 1K/yr, while for couples is 2.5K. There is a statewide cap of 50M for the program in any one fiscal year. The programs is limited to those individuals whose family collectively makes only 85K/yr. with preference going to low income families. At present there only 29 private schools in GA that qualify for money from this program….. they are listed in the bill. By now, there may be more. 90% of money collected from this program must be spent on scholarships. The real cooker in this whole scenario?……. the annual amount spent on any one student in the program cannot exceed what would have been spent in a public school.
So, what do we learn from the above? If you make over 85K, you are exempt from participating in the program. That lets out most of those evil rich Republicans that Bookman is so eager to vilify. And if you expect this “donation” to cover even a fraction of your private school expense, you are whistling Dixie. Most of these private schools charge in excess of 10K plus/yr. Tell the whole story Bookman. It gives you more credibility.

Thulsa Doom

January 30th, 2013
9:16 am

Jay,

On a different note I haven’t much time lately to blog but I re-read your column from last week on the Virginia plan to change the electoral vote system. And I have to admit you were right about it being inherently unfair that a state’s electoral votes would go 70-30 to a GOP candidate in an election that was split roughly 52/48. Doesn’t seem right.

I still don’t oppose states doing it this way though. I would just think the courts would have to step in and possibly redraw lines or do something to ensure that gerrymandering doesn’t result in a very distorted electoral outcome similar to what would have happened in VA had the proposed system been in effect in the last election. Not sure what the solution is. I just re-read the column and thought about it and realized the way the VA. GOP would have done it would have been inherently unfair.

RB from Gwinnett

January 30th, 2013
9:17 am

Morality, “Jay – When the “graduates” of public schools learn to read, write and do simple math we won’t need any alternative schools – social promotion ruined public schools. Now they want to give them all something for nothing and just get them gradeated….. since we now have “educators” and very few real TEACHERS in the ATLANTA school system.”

Apparently you haven’t heard the problem with our schools is a lack of money. More money in liberal la la land solves every problem.

As long as it’s somebody else’s money.

Simple Truths

January 30th, 2013
9:17 am

Holy crap, this smells like a scam! A dollar-for-dollar tax credit where you can push money to a place that can directly benefit you. Forget the lack of accountability for a moment, the underlying math of the credit doesn’t seem to pass muster.

Paul

January 30th, 2013
9:17 am

Thomas H jr

” See my 9:05.”

I did. It’s a pretty pathetic attempt at diversion, even for you.

There are still a couple questions outstanding based upon your previous posts.

UNCLE SAMANTHA

January 30th, 2013
9:17 am

what percentage of students from APS and DEKALB who start 1st grade can read and write by the time they are 21??

what???? can’t answer that?????? too many drop out or were cheated to graduation……….

shame shame shame dems

DannyX

January 30th, 2013
9:17 am

“Herein lies the problem you and GT go into this discussion with the bias that there must be a racial bias, I do not.”

alex, I did not say there must be a racial bias, I said you could not prove otherwise. “Just move on,” as you said, is exactly how the program is meant to work, its part of the deception.

Patrick Edmondson

January 30th, 2013
9:18 am

The ultimate aim is to truly educate only the children of the elite, then the others will be happy to be wage-slaves to endure whatever. First it is the funding, then they will institute the “master race theory” of why they deserve to be the only ones considered – its biblical they will claim; just like in 1930s Germany.

Thomas Heyward Jr

January 30th, 2013
9:19 am

Paul

January 30th, 2013
9:07 am

Thomas H jr

“No..I was not speaking of public schools. I was countering Bookman’s claim that private schools have no accountability.Just because the State is not involved doesn’t mean that there is noaccountability.”

Let’s try this again.

Why are you okay with state oversight of publicly-funded schools run by the state but not with state oversight of publicly-funded schools run by a corporation?

or

Why are you for only parental oversight of publicly-funded schools run by corporations but not for publicly-funded schools run by the government?
—————————————————————————————————————–
.
We will have to disagree on what is a “public fund”.

Jay

January 30th, 2013
9:20 am

Look:

Several points. One, the tax credit is limited to $2,500 per family. Of course, Grandma and Grandpa could also donate $2,500, as could Aunt Steph, etc., with no net loss to them.

Two, under the law you can designate the school that will receive the scholarship, but it is illegal to designate the student. However, as the SEF report documents very well, schools are openly telling parents how to sidestep that requirement.

So to answer your question: No, legally, what you describe is not supposed to happen. But yes, in reality, it happens all the time.