On Monday, lawmakers in the Georgia House Ways and Means Committee overwhelmingly passed House Bill 482, a measure that would make Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) a reality in the Peach State. Representatives Paul Battles (R- Cartersville), Allen Peake (R- Macon), Chuck Martin (R- Alpharetta), Trey Kelley (R- Cedartown), Dale Rutledge (R- McDonough), David Knight (R- Griffin), Sam Teasley (R- Marietta), Jay Powell (R-Camilla), Shaw Blackmon (R- Bonaire), and Brett Harrell (R- Snellville) all deserve thanks for their role in the bill’s approval.
As HB 482 advances through the legislature, it seems possible that Georgia could become the seventh state to pass ESAs
The idea is simple. Georgia taxpayers currently pay more than $10,000 per student per year for public school education. Parents who withdraw their child from public schools and opt for an ESA would be given a percentage of that money to spend on their child’s education. That money can cover private school tuition, private tutoring, educational therapy, textbooks, online classes, or other educational expenses. Money that’s left over upon high school graduation can be used for college expenses. This empowers parents – who know and love their kids more than any bureaucrat or government official – to take a more active role in their child’s education.
Thanks to an ESA program in Florida, Faith Kleffel, a student with Down Syndrome, was able to access the physical and occupational therapy she needed to thrive. Arizona’s program allows students with autism to attend a school specifically designed with their needs in mind. ESA programs in other states have allowed students to succeed when traditional schools weren’t able to supply what they needed.
Education Savings Accounts give parents more freedom to find the best education for their kids. Launching an ESA program in Georgia will be a win for Georgia kids and Georgia families.