Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders signs military school voucher program into law
Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed legislation Tuesday opening the doors to Arkansas military kids who want school voucher money. It amends laws about transfer students to include all military children, changes the deadline for when military children can apply for school vouchers, and allows them to attend school anywhere in the state.
Under the new Arkansas LEARNS law, families who wish to enroll their children in private schools can receive tax money in the form of a voucher. The pool of money they draw from is known as an “education freedom account.” SB458 expands the eligibility of the vouchers to children of both active-duty military and uniformed service personnel. It also changes the application deadline from May 1 to July 1, as many military families move during the summer. Under the new law, military children can apply to attend a school they do not live close to.
Standing with military kids at the Little Rock Air Force Base on Tuesday, Sanders voiced her support for military personnel.
“We want Arkansas to be the very best place in the country for any person in service,” she said, explaining that by expanding the voucher program, more parents would be able to choose a school that best fits their child's needs.
The school vouchers in LEARNS have been criticized for taking money out of the public school system and putting it in private schools which are not open to all students and lack the same regulatory standards. A lawsuit is underway saying LEARNS is not legitimate because its legislative votes were incorrectly gathered.
The governor called the lawsuit “absolutely absurd,” and said it's “playing a political game” with children.