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School Choice Initiative Receives OK to Collect Signatures To Qualify For November 2022 Ballot

Published on Wednesday, October 13, 2021 | 5:27 pm

A Pasadena group said on Wednesday it has been cleared to collect signatures to place a school choice initiative on the November 2022 ballot. 

Californians for School Choice today announced that the California Attorney General’s Office has issued the official title and summary for the Educational Freedom Act Initiative. 

Proponents can now move forward to collect the 1 million signatures needed to qualify the initiative to be placed on the November 2022 election ballot.  

“Today marks the culmination of three years of hard work from our dedicated network of grassroots supporters that created this real movement for true school choice reform,” said Mike Alexander, Chair, Californians for School Choice.”  

“Under the Educational Freedom Act students would be able to attend any accredited private or religious school of their choice and save any money left over for college, vocational training or other qualified expense,” Alexander said.

California currently has nearly 6.6 million K-12 students. Six million attend public schools, 471,000 attend private schools and another 84,000 are homeschooled.

“The Educational Freedom Act is unique because it does not call for a means test,” said Alexander.  “It gives all students equal access to accredited schools that they might not be otherwise able to afford. There are no caps on the savings accounts.”

Under the Educational Freedom Act an Educational Savings Account (“ESA”) will be established upon request for each K-12 child in California.  

Each year, that account will be credited with the student’s share of what are known as Prop 98 funds. That share will rise to over $14,000 per year. The act is designed to be tax neutral and does not impose any changes to public education. All programs under Prop. 98 will continue as before. Students who leave public school will have their fair share of Prop. 98 funds only, which will follow them to the accredited private school of their choice.

Parents can direct those funds to a participating public, charter, or accredited private or religious school. Private schools must be accredited and conform with local health and safety standards. There will be no curriculum or hiring requirements. There are no caps on the savings account.

Any unspent funds will accumulate and can be spent on college, vocational training or other qualified educational expenses.  Funds not spent by the time a student reaches age 30 will be returned to the state treasury.

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