School Tuition Organization Scams

I think that parents should have choices about where to send their kids to school. But I don't think we should be needlessly bleeding off our public schools and giving it to private schools, which are not held accountable for our tax dollars and which blur the line between church and state.

What is an STO? An STO is an organization who's main function is to advertise for and collect contributions from people who want to give to (primarily) private schools.

Seems harmless, right? Well, its not. Every contribution can be written off in taxes (and contributions to public schools can only be about half the size of contributions to private schools).

If you give $500 to an STO, then you can claim a $500 tax credit. You pay $500 less in taxes and the state has $500 less to apply to public education. Meanwhile, the private school will get that $500. 

STO_Program_Growth.jpg

Here's a thing: the vast majority of tax credits go to private schools, which overwhelmingly serve wealthy, white students. 

Here's another thing: that STO I mentioned above is allowed to take a 10% admin fee just for transferring the money from one person to a private school. Somebody is getting really rich on this racket and it is not our students.

Most people don't know this. I find that people are shocked to hear about it.

So, in debate on the floor last week, when an attempt was made to change that 10% to 5%, the STO proponents protested loudly. These were largely the same folks who are all about cutting admin from school budget --"administration" such as bus drivers, nurses, school councilors which are very needed in low-income schools, etc.  

This bill will increase the annual cap every year that people are allowed to give (away tax dollars) to private schools by about 20%. Check out this chart to see what that will do --it will divert money that could have gone to the general fund for all kids.

Heck of a hockey stick, huh?

I have not seen a chart like that since the Alt Fuels debacle

 

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Paid for by the Ken Clark Leadership Committee, Hon. Chad Campbell, Chair

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