On Tuesday afternoon the Arkansas State Legislature which is currently under Republican control passed school choice legislation. The legislation is now going to be sent to Gov. Sarah Sanders’ desk for her signature.
Senate Bill 294, also known as “Arkansas LEARNS”, passed in a 26-8 vote, making Arkansas one of the latest states to pass school choice laws. In a tweet, Sanders praised this success stating that it was a ‘historic win for parents, teachers, and students.” She further added that this law would help act as a model for the rest of the country. Sanders stated that she would be signing the law the following day so that every child in the state could gain access to better education in Arkansas.
The Arkansas legislation is going to broaden school choice, including a plan that would allow the state to adopt universal choice by the 2025-2026 school year. As part of the bill vouchers will be available through “Education Freedom Accounts,” which is going to amount to 90 percent of funding allocated per student to every single school district.
Some students, including those with disabilities, those who are homeless, those with a parent actively working in the military, and those who were previously in F-rated schools are going to be eligible to receive the voucher for the 2023-2024 year. Children entering kindergarten for the first time are also eligible for the vouchers in the next academic year.
Republican Sen. Breanne Davis pointed out during the Senate session that this law is about collaborating together in order to ensure the “success of our children.”