Madison County Schools Superintendent Dr. Mitch McGhee recently warned the county school board that voucher talk could be on the rise again at the state level.
There’s been a push the last four to five years from the state capital during the legislative session to approve a voucher system that would allow taxpayer money to be spent on sending students to private schools in certain situations.
The new legislative session starts in January.
“We’ve got enough economic woes and other issues that we really needed to be putting our time and energy into other real problems instead of trying to create another problem,” McGhee said.
Two years ago, Senate Bill 10 allowed special education students to attend private schools on a voucher, which many thought was a first step toward a universal voucher system.
Proponents of vouchers feel they will promote competition among public schools. But McGhee contends that that thinking is flawed because public and private schools aren’t on an equal playing field, he said.
McGhee notes that the attempt for a universal voucher system continues to fall short.
“We would really like to not to have to fight that battle again — it’s been defeated again and again — but there are a couple of very powerful state senators that that’s the most important thing to them in life, I think,” McGhee told BOE members last week.
Eric Johnson (R-Savannah) has been one of the major proponents of a universal voucher system. McGhee believes the state senator will reintroduce the item during this year’s session.
“I believe this is his passion … He has brought it up every year. It’s likely that it will come up again,” McGhee said.
McGhee encouraged BOE members at last week’s meeting to voice their opposition to vouchers in conversations with any of the local representatives in the state legislature.
“If they could get wind from the other legislators that, ‘hey, you just don’t need to bring this up again,’ that would be helpful,” McGhee said.