Kansas approves tax credits for private schools

In a lengthy debate Thursday in the Kansas Senate, Republican legislators batted away several suggested amendments and intraparty dissenters in passing a bill expanding a private school tax credit program beyond the originally intended at-risk students.

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February 12, 2021 - 10:45 AM

Sen. Molly Baumgardner, R-Louisburg, championed the private school tax credit bill Thursday that would open a program currently serving about 600 "at-risk" Kansas K-12 students to a pool of more than 200,000. (Jan. 28, 2021, photo by Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

TOPEKA — In a lengthy debate Thursday in the Kansas Senate, Republican legislators batted away several suggested amendments and intraparty dissenters in passing a bill expanding a private school tax credit program beyond the originally intended at-risk students.

The bill expands eligibility for the program, which reimburses organizations providing scholarships for private schools up to 70% of a maximum $500,000 donation in the form of tax credits. Currently, students who are eligible for free lunch and attended one of the hundred lowest-performing elementary schools in Kansas are eligible for the program.

Under the proposed changes, students qualify if they come from any public school in Kansas or are on free or reduced lunch programs, and don’t have to be defined as “at-risk.” This would open eligibility for the program currently serving about 600 students to a pool of 200,000.

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