HB 999 – Georgia Education Freedom Act


Representative Wes Cantrell, R-Woodstock, a former public school teacher, has recently introduced legislation, House Bill 999, the Georgia Educational Freedom Act, to provide for the establishment of promise scholarship accounts to be funded by the state for each participating student. [1]

According to the bill:

  • Scholarships are $6,000 per student [2].
  • Scholarships can be used on any approved education expense such as private school tuition, tutoring, virtual classes, therapies (occupational, behavioral, physical, speech-language), technology, etc. [3]
  • The student attended a Georgia Public school for at least 6 weeks [4].
  • The student cannot receive another scholarship under Title 20, such as the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship (SB10), but there is no exclusion of the Georgia Tax Credit Scholarship (APOGEE). [5]
  • Funds are non-taxable for the parents/guardians. [6]
  • The number of scholarships is limited to available funding, if there are more applicants than spaces, there will be a “lottery”. [7]
  • If there is a “lottery”, current students will have priority over new applicants. [8]

“We’ve got to recognize that we already fund students directly with Pell grants and the G.I. bill for higher education,” Cantrell said. “We do the same for Pre-K programs like Head Start, so let’s bring that same logic to K-12… …even when our public schools do an excellent job, which they often do, even in those and in the best of circumstances, there are going to be a small percentage of students who don’t perform well in the traditional classroom setting and they need a different learning environment,” Cantrell said.” (9)

Wes Cantrell, 22nd House District, Woodstock

We support this legislation because it adds an additional potential funding source for many of our students’ families. Our recent series, “COVID Puts the Microscope on Education Concerns,” highlights why we, and other professionals, understand the importance of various learning options for students struggling with language processing issues such as dyslexia. The hardships of traditional classroom learning are amplified for those who struggle with reading, and this helps get many of those students in an environment that can quickly meet their needs and remediate deficits in their learning.

We will keep you updated as we learn more and PLEASE REACH OUT to your Representative to ask questions, share your story, and feel free to share this information. You can click HERE and complete the form with the pre-filled letter or find your Representative HERE (state lower chamber) and email. The school is in State House District 35 with Ed Setzler as the Representative, who is very supportive of School Choice legislation.

We will keep you updated as we learn any details. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

SOURCES

[1] Georgia Educational Freedom Act, HB 999, 2021 Reg. Sess. (Ga. 2021).

[2] Ibid. Lines 3-4.

[3] Ibid. Lines 47-65.

[4] Ibid. Lines 73-75.

[5] Ibid. Lines 83-86.

[6] Ibid. Lines 185-186.

[7] Ibid. Lines 218-221.

[8] Ibid. Lines 221-222.

[9] Daniel, Nyamekye. “Georgia Lawmakers Push Plan for New School-Choice Program.” The Center Square. January 27, 2022.