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Tax Credit Becomes Law for NC Parents of Pupils with Special Needs

A new North Carolina law provides a tax credit to families of children with disabilities.

Today, Gov. Beverly Perdue allowed the measure to become law without her signature.

The law gives parents of children with disabilities a tax credit of up to $6,000 for educational expenses including private school tuition, therapy, and tutoring.

The school district's offices were closed Friday, and a home phone number for Superintendent Richard Swanson was not working.

As I wrote earlier, a legislative analysis of the bill estimated up to 5 percent of the 200,000 families eligible would use the tax credit and if parents choose to enroll their children in private school, it could actually save the state money. A report by the Associated Press said North Carolina spends more than $8,000 for each child in special education and local officials spend another $2,000.

"Now we can add North Carolina to the list of states that are going above and beyond by embracing the ideals of real parental school choice for families," said Darrell Allison, president of Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina, in a statement. "This piece of legislation lays the foundation for similar options in the future for our students."

Had Gov. Perdue, a staunch supporter of public education, vetoed the bill, which passed by wide margins in both houses, it may have been overridden by the North Carolina legislature.

As I've written before, when parents enroll their children with disabilities in private schools, they lose the federal protection of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

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