Senator Proposes Vouchers for Military Kids

Published October 1, 2009

This summer the Department of Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 included an amendment mandating a study of the effectiveness of a school voucher program for children of military personnel and veterans living in or near the nation’s capital.

S 1390 was introduced by U.S. Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) and passed on July 23 by an 87-7 vote.

During Senate Armed Services Committee hearings, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) put forth a proposal for a G.I. Junior Military Scholarship. Under his suggested voucher program, $7,500 scholarships would be given to military children living in or near the District of Columbia to use at the public, private, or charter school of their parents’ choice. School districts could save $11,500 per student, based on DC Public Schools’ average per-pupil expenditures of nearly $19,000 a year.

Though Graham’s amendments were not adopted in the final version of S 1390, Rep. Ike Skelton (D-MO) inserted in the House version, HB 2647, a provision calling for further research on the topic. The results of the study, to be conducted by the secretaries of defense and education, would be due March 31, 2010.

The Senate bill was sent to the House on July 28 and awaits another vote. States can assist their own military families through state legislation enacting a G.I. Junior Military Scholarship Program.

Evelyn B. Stacey ([email protected]) is a policy fellow in education studies at the Pacific Research Institute in Sacramento, California.

For more information …

U.S. Senate Bill 1390: