Last year the Michigan legislature approved two strong school choice bills that established a Michigan Student Opportunity Scholarship (SOS) program. Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer vetoed them. But the state constitution allows the Legislature to override a governor’s veto if enough petition signatures are collected to get the bill back to the Legislature. If passed again, the bills could not be re-vetoed by the governor.
A school choice advocacy group spearheaded the effort, raised more than $8 million, and collected more than 520,000 signatures, far more than the 340,000 needed. The legislature can then vote to cancel the Governor’s veto.
If the SOS program were enacted, a parent-controlled savings account would be established for each participating child. Parents would then use a debit card to pay for the resources chosen for their child’s unique educational program, such as tuition at a private or parochial school, tutoring, online classes, transportation, specialized therapies, textbooks, uniforms, and even college courses while still in high school. Unused funds would also be rolled over from year to year and could be saved to pay for future college expenses.
Michigan taxpayers would receive a one dollar tax credit for each dollar donated. The program would be available to most Michigan children, with the SOS amount varying by household income, and full funding for children with special needs or who are in foster care.
Overriding Gov. Whitmer’s veto will be a major step forward for parental choice.