Bachman Academy marks Choice Week
by JOYANNA LOVE Banner Senior Staff Writer
Jan 19, 2014 | 957 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
What if government funding helped parents pay for whatever school they chose for their students?

As part of National School Choice Week, Bachman Academy in McDonald is holding an awareness event on this issue Jan. 29.

Pam Murphy, the school’s assistant director of admissions, said this is an event the school has begun holding on a yearly basis.

The event focuses on bringing public awareness “to our efforts to get government funding to allow parents to make a choice about their child’s education,” Murphy said.

Bachman has only been involved in helping the public understand the issue at the local level while others have taken a more active role in pushing for change through legislation.

Murphy said the cost of private education is often an obstacle parents cannot overcome to truly have a choice about their children’s schooling.

“A lot of them would like to put their students in a private situation if they could, but many cannot afford it,” Murphy said.

Representatives for both local mayors offices are expected to be present at the event.

State Rep. Kevin Brooks has also submitted a statement to be read at the event.

Using tax dollars to fund education at private schools has been discussed in Tennessee at the state level, as Gov. Bill Haslam proposed legislation that would provide a limited number of vouchers for underprivileged students in failing schools.

Education groups such as the Tennessee School Board Association expect the issue to come up again.

Other forms of government-funded school choice programs include tax credit scholarship programs and personal tax credits and deductions.

According to the National School Choice Week website, tax credit scholarship programs would let “individuals or corporations ... receive dollar-for-dollar tax credits for donating to qualifying nonprofit scholarship organizations that offer private school tuition assistance.”

Personal tax credits and deductions could be created for “parents who send their children to private school to receive a state income tax credit, or a deduction, for private school tuition as well as books, supplies, computers, tutors or transportation,” the site notes.

Charter schools across the state do allow some students to go to private institutions with governmental help. However, these schools are not available in all areas. The Bradley County and Cleveland school systems do not have charter schools.

Murphy said Bachman is trying to reach out to other schools in the area for the event.