ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - The national battle over expanding private school options has made its way to the Minnesota Capitol.
Lawmakers considered a bill in two House education committees Tuesday to extend an education tax credit to cover private school tuition payments. President Donald Trump's nominee for secretary of education, Betsy DeVos, is a major supporter of an educational voucher system and has revived a debate about shifting public money toward private schools.
Rep. Ron Kresha says the credit will increase parents' school choice to help find the institution that suits their child's needs. Now in the majority, Republican lawmakers have the muscle to get the bill through the Legislature.
But opponents, including teachers union Education Minnesota, say the credits are disguised vouchers and part of an initiative to sap resources from public schools.
"We are really pushing for all parents in Minnesota to have the best collaborative relationship they can have with their educational institutions -- at the teacher level particularly," said Reynolds Anthony Harris of Minnesota Harvest Initiative.
"They're stealing money from out students on a regular basis to fund their tax breaks," said Nick Faber of the St. Paul Federation of Teachers.
The issue of at-risk students was a big point both sides brought up. Groups for choice say kids need more access to more schools to get them on a better path to success. Those affiliated with public school say this proposal would further segregate schools.
KARE 11 reached out to Governor Dayton's office for his thoughts on this proposal, but we're told he hasn't had a chance to review it yet.