Giving Kids Credit: Using Scholarship Tax Credits to Increase Educational Opportunity in Massachusetts
by Ken Ardon, Jason Bedrick
Pioneer Institute for Public Policy Research
July 24, 2014
While higher-income families have a plethora of K-12 educational options, lower-income families’ options are often limited to the local district school to which they are assigned. This paper proposes a constitutional and fiscally responsible method of expanding educational options for low-income families. Section I describes how a scholarship tax credit program for K-12 education works and why such a program should pass constitutional muster. Section II summarizes the existing research on educational choice programs in general and scholarship tax credits in particular. Section III explains how the Massachusetts school funding formula works and explores the fiscal impact of a scholarship tax credit program. The paper then proposes a model scholarship tax credit program that would expand educational opportunities for tens of thousands of low-income children while remaining revenue neutral or saving money for the commonwealth and only minimally impacting school districts.