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Minutes for SB47 - Committee on Education

Short Title

Creating the student opportunity scholarship program.

Minutes Content for Wed, Feb 20, 2019

Tamera Lawrence, staff revisor, gave a brief overview of SB47.  Ms. Lawrence reminded the committee a technical amendment is needed if the bill passes and distributed a balloon amendment to the committee.  Ms. Lawrence indicted the balloon would include the year and source of funding for clarification.  (Attachment 8)

Senator Braum applauded the concept of the bill, but he noted his caution of the committee not fond of the funding mechanism and the funds that go back to schools after the student has left. He noted he would like a funding source to come from the community.

Senator Pilcher-Cook stated she would vote against the bill in the name of fairness. She discussed private students and schools not being included. She said there are many students that attend private schools that will not benefit from the program.

Senator Baumgardner moved, Senator Givens seconded, to adopt the proposed balloon amendment.  Motion carried.

The committed returned to discussion of the bill. 

Senator Sykes asked if the bill goes against the Constitution and Article 6 with possibly having public funds going to a private college or institution. Ms. Lawrence responded that it is possible as the definition of post-secondary institutions could include religious institutions. Chair responded that we do have a nursing scholarship, and she described how they fund this. She noted that this bill is not the first time being enacted.

Senator Sykes commented that she appreciated the intent of the bill but asked if we are setting ourselves up for possibly pushing students to graduate before they are emotionally ready. She wondered if this could be looked at on a smaller level before moving forward.

Senator Taylor stated she had similar concerns  and discussed teacher training that is already available if the school district chooses.

Senator Sykes asked about the use of previous years enrollment, and stated she was concerned that we don't have an accurate enrollment count and asked if this will create issues. The Chair stated enrollment counts were very accurate and they have numbers on how many students plan to graduate early as these numbers are tracked.

Chairperson Baumgardner recognized the committee concerns but stated that she felt good with the bill as this bill is for students that have already demonstrated their ability and what they are capable of taking on.

Chairperson Baumgardner stated Committee options were to vote and move the bill out, or they could table it to provide additional time to discuss it. Senator Braun asked if they went over a fiscal note. Chairperson Baumgardner stated that there was not a fiscal note as there is no fiscal impact and the bill is considered neutral. Chairperson Baumgardner noted that it is the base aid and not the weightings.

Senator Taylor moved, Senator Givens seconded, to table the bill.  Motion carried.

The meeting adjourned at 2:19 pm..