Sutherland supports SB 177 – Scholarships for Special Needs Students

February 22, 2019

The following email was sent to members of Utah’s Senate Revenue and Taxation committee on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2019,  from Christine Cooke, Sutherland Institute’s education policy director, prior to SB 177 being heard in committee:

Members of the Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee,

Sutherland Institute supports SB 177 – Scholarships for Special Needs Students.

Education is about helping each individual student reach their unique God-given potential, whatever path it takes to achieve that. Since the 2005 passage of the Carson Smith Scholarship, Utah has formally recognized that students with special needs need more options. The Carson Smith Scholarship has been successful in letting these students access private schools when it makes sense. We’ve now learned that students with special needs sometimes require a range of options to achieve an education that makes sense for them.

The special needs tax credit scholarship created in SB 177 allows parents of children with special needs to use a scholarship to access a wider range of educational options including tuition, educational therapy, textbooks, exams and more. Scholarships would be funded by private donations of individuals and corporations, which would be leveraged through income tax credits.

Ideally, in a state that has codified the parental right to guide a student’s education, we would offer as many educational choices as possible. This bill allows for this opportunity in a smart and prudent way.

We encourage members of the Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee to vote in favor of SB 177.

Thank you,

Christine Cooke

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