Last month, the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD), sent a letter to the IRS expressing our support for closing the loophole that has allowed donors to profit off of contributions to private school voucher programs in many states.

In some states, a donor can contribute money to the state’s private school voucher program and receive a tax credit on his state taxes. Then, the donor can also receive an additional tax benefit on his federal taxes. Sometimes, the state tax credit combined with the federal tax deduction can exceed the amount he donated to the program to begin with, resulting in a profit for the donor.

For the past 40 years, it has been NCLD’s mission is to empower parents and young adults, transform schools and advocate for equal rights and opportunities. We have a long history of advocating against programs that siphoned money away from public schools in desperate need of funds. Thus, NCLD urged the IRS to move forward with the proposed regulation to prevent people and businesses from making a profit when they contribute to private school voucher programs.

Not only do private school voucher programs divert money away from public education, but voucher programs systemically deny rights to students with disabilities and fail to meet their needs. Specifically, we oppose private school voucher programs for the following reasons:

  1. Private schools can deny students admission based on their disability.
  2. Private schools do not grant students full rights under federal law.
  3. Private schools are not held accountable for the performance of students with disabilities.
  4. Private school voucher programs drain critical revenue that is used to fund public schools.

It is unacceptable that tax credit programs in a dozen states are used to pay for schools that are allowed to exclude students with disabilities, strip them of their rights and are not held accountable by the federal government. Further, individuals and corporate donors should not obtain a tax benefit or profit off of contributions to such programs, or any part of the tax code. Given the chronic and dramatic underfunding of the IDEA, we can ill afford to siphon more resources away from our public schools.

Read the full letter here and learn more about private school vouchers here.  

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