Statement from PEFNC’s Mike Long on the passage of HB 103 (2022 Appropriations Act) with bi-partisan support

July 1, 2022 (Raleigh, NC) -- Among other things, the budget bill will increase the Opportunity Scholarship Program by $56M for the 2023-24 school year and expand eligibility for students in households with an income level not in excess of 200% of the amount required to qualify for the federal free or reduced-price lunch program. Additionally, the budget will increase funding for the Special Needs Education Savings Account (ESA+) by $16M for the coming school year (2022-23). This should help families currently on the ESA+ waitlist to have access to the necessary resources to assist their child with special needs. 

“School choice has never been in higher demand in our state, and programs like the Opportunity Scholarship Program and the Special Needs ESA are helping thousands of families gain access to the school of their choice. Once again, we are thrilled by the commitment from leaders in the General Assembly to find new ways to expand access to educational choice and options in our state. Without a doubt, school choice has become an essential part of the educational landscape in North Carolina. We applaud the General Assembly for passing a robust, bi-partisan budget that prioritizes families and students through expansion of school choice, and we urge Governor Cooper to sign this budget as soon as possible," said Mike Long, President of Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina.

20,372 students utilized an Opportunity Scholarship during the 2021-22 school year and 2,854 students utilize a Special Needs scholarship, and nearly 15,000 new Opportunity Scholarship Program applications have been filed for the 2022-23 school year (as of July 1, 2022).

Now, more families like Keenan and KC Cooper will have access to the school of their choice because of an Opportunity Scholarship or ESA+.