SB 977
Creates the Betty L. Thompson Scholarship Program
LR Number:
Last Action:
1/22/2008 - Second Read and Referred S Pensions, Veterans' Affairs and General Laws Committee
Journal Page:
Calendar Position:
Effective Date:
August 28, 2008

Current Bill Summary

SB 977 – This act creates the Betty L. Thompson Scholarship Program. Beginning in tax year 2008, a taxpayer may make a contribution to an educational assistance organization and claim a tax credit if the taxpayer does not claim the donations on the taxpayer's federal income tax return. The tax credit is for 65% of the amount of the contribution and is nonrefundable but may be carried forward for three years. The tax credit is transferable. The annual cumulative amount of tax credits is limited at $40 million. Scholarships may not exceed $5,000. Both amounts will be increased or decreased based on the consumer price index for the Midwest. $32 million will be allotted for tax credit scholarships and $8 million for public school foundations.

Eligibility standards for students receiving scholarships include: a grade point average of 2.5 or less on a 4.0 scale, or an equivalent; residence within the boundaries of a school district classified as unaccredited or provisionally accredited by the state board of education; attendance at a public school for the semester before a scholarship is granted or starting school in the state for the first time; a family income not greater than 135% of the level for the reduced school lunch program. Educational assistance organizations must meet requirements for fiscal soundness, percentage of revenues devoted to educational scholarships, and public reporting. Private schools qualify to accept students with scholarships by meeting requirements as described in the act, including employee background checks and administering state student assessments. The act describes the method of distributing scholarship checks.

Scholarships may be used at public schools outside the eligible school districts. If a scholarship student attends another public school, the accepting school must take the educational scholarship funds instead of state funds owed to the accepting district. The weighted average daily attendance count under the foundation formula of a school district whose resident students receive scholarships under this act will be adjusted so that the district does not receive aid for a student no longer enrolled as a result of receiving a scholarship under this act.

The Joint Committee on Legislative Research will enter into a contract with one or more researchers to study the program, including measurements of student achievement, satisfaction with the program, and its impact on public and private schools.

The provisions of this act shall expire within six years unless renewed.

This act is similar to SB 698 (2007) and HB 808 (2007).