Private schools weary of federal school voucher program

Students studying at Topeka Lutheran School.

TOPEKA, Kan (KSNT)  –  Federal lawmakers are considering a bill for a school voucher program that would help parents send their children to private schools. The “Choices in Education Act” would give parents money to home school their children or enroll them in a private school; however, many private schools are hesitant of taking federal money.

“There are pros and cons. Some states structure it in a way where you cannot require voucher kids to wear uniforms,” said Chris Francik, principal of Topeka Lutheran School.

Francik said it’s also unclear how the government would work with schools that are religion based. For instance, what regulations would there be regarding LGBT students and parents.

“There could be a concern that some of those things would be linked and would be asking us to violate our biblical understandings,” said Francik.

Francik said the school would have to look closely any program before making a decision; however, Cair Paravel Latin School in Topeka said they would not participate in any school voucher program.

Currently, it looks like states could decide not to participate in the program. Kansas House Minority Leader Jim Ward (D-Wichita) said it wouldn’t be wise for Kansas to participate in a school voucher program.

“We have a constitutional responsibility, given to us by the people of Kansas to fund a public school system and the court found us failing to do that basic job. We don’t have the money, the resources to divert to private schools,” said Ward.

Along with the proposed program, Gov. Sam Brownback also talked about the importance of “school choice” while addressing the school finance ruling by the Kansas Supreme Court.

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