South Carolina could follow trend of tax credits for private schools



(The Center Square) — Tax credits parents can use to send their kids to private schools are growing in popularity, and South Carolina could be among the next states to follow the trend.

Education tax credits are an alternative to education savings accounts, which yes. every kid. says states can easily implement using their existing tax mechanisms. Parents or guardians receive a tax credit when they opt to use a non-public school for their children’s education.

A new poll the group released shows that 80% of parents of K-12 students support personal education tax credits, and two-thirds of parents believe they will improve education in our country. The yes. every kid. foundation .and YouGov conducted the poll.

“A lot of [lawmakers], they haven’t thought of school choice or education freedom in the lens of a tax credit,” Craig Hulse, executive director of yes. every kid., told The Center Square. “Because education savings accounts have been the wave sweeping the nation, it has brought attention away from this specific subject.”

During this year’s session, South Carolina lawmakers passed S.39, the Educational Scholarship Trust Fund, allowing state residents with “a statement of Medicaid eligibility” to receive up to $6,000 in scholarships to cover instructional materials, tutoring, computer hardware, assessments, transportation, tuition and fees.

However, South Carolina received an overall D score and ranked 26th nationwide for its education freedom in the American Legislative Exchange Council 2023 Index of State Education Freedom. The report graded the state on its charter schools, financing programs, homeschooling, open enrollment and virtual schooling.

Hulse acknowledged the notion of tax credits might carry baggage for some. However, he said the pros outweigh the cons.

“Any type of phrase or term in the political process has good and bad connotations,” Hulse said. “But the reality is, if you’re debating a tax credit for films or K-12, as a lawmaker or a citizen, what’s more important, filming movies or educating the public?

“Most state constitutions have education enshrined in the constitution,” Hulse added. “So the state is mandated to educate the public or provide an option for the public to be educated. So I think there’s a big difference between a football stadium, filming a movie and educating children as required by the state constitution.”

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