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Lawmakers Try for a New Plan for EdChoice School Voucher Program

House Minority Leader Emilia Sykes
Democratic Rep. Emilia Sykes speaks about the EdChoice program.

Democratic lawmakers are pushing for legislation that phases out EdChoice private school vouchers, which are based on public school performance. Legislators say the bipartisan House bill puts the focus back on making sure the public school system is fair and efficient.

A Senate plan would continue granting EdChoice vouchers, though it would lower the number of buildings that are deemed failing and increase the income threshold for poverty-based vouchers. The House plan would only grant vouchers to low-income families.

Minority Democrats have backed the House plan because income-based vouchers are paid for by the state and not school districts. Leader of the House Democrats, Emilia Sykes, says families will still have the freedom of school choice.

"Those choices cannot be made at the expense of our public school system. We are constitutionally required to have a fair and efficient public school system," she said. 

The General Assembly has until April to come up with a new plan for EdChoice, and several committee hearings have been scheduled over the next two weeks.