AASA Requests Funding Limits for D.C. Voucher Program

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AASA is proud to co-chair the National Coalition for Public Education, a coalition of dozens of national civil rights, education, religious and secular organizations committed to opposing federal private school vouchers. Yesterday, the Coalition sent a letter to the Senate Subcommittee on Appropriations regarding the continued funding of the D.C. voucher program. Specifically, the coalition asked that the Senate eliminate funding for the D.C. voucher program altogether, but at a minimum, the Senate should allocate no more than $3 million to the program, because the Office of Management and Budget has said that is all it needs, plus “the amount carried forward from prior fiscal years,” to have sufficient funding to meet costs through the 2015–2016 school year.

The D.C. voucher program has also repeatedly failed to meet basic and even statutorily required accountability standards. In 2013, in what the Washington Post called a “scathing report,” the GAO found significant “weaknesses in administration and oversight” of the D.C. voucher program. During site visits of ten of the private voucher schools with the most voucher students, the GAO uncovered several schools that were violating basic SOAR Act requirements. For example, nine of the ten schools examined failed to maintain valid certificates of occupancy. This is particularly troubling because, in response to the 2007 GAO report’s finding that several schools receiving vouchers lacked valid certificates of occupancy, Congress included a provision in the SOAR Act specifying that private schools accepting vouchers must obtain and maintain one.

You can read the complete letter here.

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